Netflix CEO to donate $120M to Black education

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(NBC) – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, on Wednesday announced that they are committing $120 million to the United Negro College Fund and two historically Black colleges as part of the fight for racial justice spurred by the killing of George Floyd.

“The times are the most stressed, the most painful, that we’ve ever seen in our lives,” Hastings said in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. “But out of that pain can come some opportunity, too. And maybe this will be the moment things change.”

The gift, which Hastings called “the biggest gift we’ve ever given,” comes as businesses and business leaders across the country are donating to Black institutions and to those that support the fight for racial justice.

Hastings and Quillin will donate $40 million to the college fund and $40 million each to Spelman College and Morehouse College, both historically Black and based in Atlanta. The contribution is intended to support student scholarships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs.

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

Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College, said the donation would help students in need to focus on academics.

“It’s a statement from Patty and Reid of great faith in our students and faith in our institutions,” she said. “It’s going to mean that every year we’re going to be able to identify 20 high-performing students, high-need students and say to them ‘you get to go to college debt-free.'”

Hastings and Quillin’s announcement comes a day after the technology news website Recode reported that Hastings is building a 2,100-acre luxury ranch in the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains that will serve as a foundation and training ground for American public school teachers.

The couple are major donors to the education reform movement. In 2016, Hastings announced the creation of a $100 million education fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Hastings has been involved in education reform since the late 1990s, including backing charter schools — a subject that has polarized the education community.

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