"It's an honor to help out," Reed Hastings said of the donation

By Robyn Merrett
June 17, 2020 01:56 PM
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Reed Hastings
Reed Hastings
| Credit: Carlos Alvarez/Getty

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin have pledged $120 million to black education in the wake national protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd.

Hastings, 59, made the announcement on Wednesday, explaining that the donation will go to the United Negro College Fund and two historically black colleges based in Atlanta: Spelman College and Morehouse College, NBC News reported.

Both colleges will receive $40 million each. The remaining $40 million will be donated to the United Negro College Fund — which will support student scholarships at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

"The times are the most stressed, the most painful, that we've ever seen in our lives," Hastings told MSNBC. "But out of that pain can come some opportunity, too. And maybe this will be the moment things change."

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Hastings explained that the donation is "the best gift we've ever given."

"We wanted to do our part to draw attention, in this case, to the HBCU's 150 years of resilience, of education young Black people and the stories not well understood in the white community," Hastings said.

In response to the donation, Spelman College thanked Hastings and Quillin on Twitter.

"Thanks to a $40M gift from Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings, CEO of @Netflix, over the next 10 years, 200 first-year students will be able to attend Spelman with a full four-year scholarship through the Dovey Johnson Roundtree Presidential Scholarship."

Reed Hastings, Patty Quillin
Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin
| Credit: AEDT/WENN

Dr. David A. Thomas, the president of Morehouse, also acknowledged the gift on Twitter.

"This historic $40 million gift from Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings is an affirmation of the work we are doing at Morehouse College to produce leaders who are equipped to affect change in their professions, communities, the nation and the world," Dr. Thomas said in a video.

The contribution is "the largest single donation in the College's 153-year history," Morehouse College tweeted alongside the video from the institution's president.

Hastings spoke further about the gift on social media in response to CBS's report on the news.

"It's an honor to help out," Hastings tweeted.

In addition to Hastings and Quillin's personal donation, Netflix is donating $5 million to the black community, Deadline reported.

"Tackling racism an injustice in meaningful ways means creating long-term opportunities for the black community," Hastings said. "The main role we play is through our funding of and member viewing of important content like When They See Us. As an additional step, today we're committing $5 million to nonprofits dedicated to creating direct opportunities for black creators, black youth and black-owned businesses."

According to Deadline, Netflix is committing $1.5 million of money to Ghetto Film School, Film Independent Project Involve, Firelight Media an Black Public Media. $1 million of the funds will be given to organizations: Know Your Rights Camp, the Posse Foundation and Black Girls Code. The remaining money will go to black-owned businesses.

Hastings and Quillin's gift comes after they donated $30 million to coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine development and global immunization programs in April.

Hastings and his wife presented the funds to Gavi Alliance, a Geneva-based nonprofit immunization organization founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Variety. The money will go toward Gavi Alliance’s goal of accelerating coronavirus vaccine development and assisting with manufacturing and distribution once it’s available.

Hastings said in a statement to Variety: “Global immunization is vital to ending this terrible pandemic, and Gavi’s hard-fought gains in this area will help prevent more lost lives and livelihoods.”

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • •National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.