Hastings will donate $40 million each to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and historically Black Spelman and Morehouse colleges.
“There are many good places to donate, but the [historically Black colleges and universities] are 150 years old, incredibly resilient, producing an amazing number of Black graduates,” Hastings told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin in an interview that aired Wednesday.
The donation from Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, comes amid renewed calls for racial justice after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man. In addition, the Black community has been disproportionately sickened by the coronavirus, showing the gaping disparities in access to quality health care across minority communities.
“The amount of tragedy really did get us to focus and say, ‘let’s do something now that will be supportive of these great institutions and give people some sense of hope,'” Hastings said. “This moment is not the first time that racism has reared its, you know, terribly ugly head.”
“We want to help draw attention to the HBCUs, to them being part of the solution for America, and for Black children to aspire to,” he added.
Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell said 60% of Morehouse’s students and 48% of Spelman students are eligible for the federal Pell Grant, which helps low-income families.
“Here you have in this country, you have the colleges with the least resources taking on the responsibility of educating at a high level the students who need resources the most,” she told Sorkin.
According to Forbes, Hastings has a net worth around $4.8 billion, thanks primarily to his 1.3% stake in Netflix — the best-performing stock of the last decade. That’s helped him become a longtime donor in the education system. He has given millions in funding to charter schools, and in 2016 started a $100 million philanthropic fund for children’s education.