Feel guilty about all the Netflix you’ve been watching lately? Well, here’s some good news that might make you feel a tiny bit better about your screen time: Netflix founder Reed Hastings is making one of the single biggest donations by a couple or individual to racial justice. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing and mass protests calling attention to police violence against Black people, Hastings is donating $120 million to America’s historically black colleges and universities.
Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, will donate $40 million each to Morehouse College and Spelman College. They will also donate another $40 million to the United Negro College Fund, which provides scholarships for historically black schools. The donations will also add to these college’s endowments, which on average are less than half the size of other colleges.
“Both of us had the privilege of a great education and we want to help more students—in particular students of color—get the same start in life,” Hastings and Quillin said. “We hope this additional $120 million donation will help more Black students follow their dreams and also encourage more people to support these institutions—helping to reverse generations of inequity in our country.”
As the wage gap continues to grow between the very wealthy and the very poor, billionaires have rightly felt pressure to be more generous with their philanthropic efforts. Hastings is calling on other business leaders to follow suite and contribute to funding HBCUs. So far, the biggest gifts from tech companies are from Apple and YouTube, which each promised $100 million for investments in the Black community. Earlier this week, Netflix promised to put $5 million towards funding Black creators and Black businesses.
So far, American companies and individuals have pledged or committed $2 billion in total towards racial justice organizations. Let’s keep it coming!