Reed Hastings, the billionaire founder of streaming platform Netflix, and his wife Patty Quillin have made a donation of whopping $120 million for historically Black colleges and universities(HBCUs) in America. This comes after the murder of George Floyd by police in a case of racial injustice. This $120 million is the single largest donation from any individual or couple towards racial justice post the case of George Floyd.
This donation shows how Silicon Valley millionaire and billionaire philanthropists are trying to support nonprofits working for racial causes. While such displays have been common, the future will say how far the SV companies are willing to usher in fundamental changes in their own power structures.
From the $120 million donation, $40 million each will go to Spelman College and Morehouse College, two of the most prominent HBCUs. Another $40 million will be sent to the United Negro College Fund, a fund taking care of scholarships in historically Black schools. These hefty sums are expected to add considerably to the HBCUs’ endowments. Currently, the endowment for Spelman is $390 million, $145 million for Morehouse, and $100 million for UNCF.
Billionaires are turning more skeptical about their donations towards elite colleges which already draw massive endowments. They are also skeptical of the tax breaks they get from these gifts. On the other hand, donations to HBCUs would be easier to defend given the underrepresented demographic they serve and the smaller endowments for them. But some oppose saying that the federal government could considerably increase the funding for such historically Black colleges and universities if the rich ones like Hastings were taxed heavily.
Coming from Hastings and Quillin:
“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. 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.”
The announcement of this donation towards HBCUs comes one day after Recode reported Hastings’ secret funding of a retreat center in Colorado for education reformers and teachers. To date, Hastings has dedicated nearly $5 billion from his personal net worth for education reform and the expansion of charter schools.
The Netflix founder is not only reaching out himself but also urging other leaders to do the same for historically Black institutes. Promises from tech companies have been mostly very focused so far. Apple and YouTube have both promised one hundred million dollars for investments in the Black community. Unidentified racial justice cases will receive ten million dollars from Facebook while Netflix has pledged another five million dollars for black creators and businesses.
Till now Americans have pledged and committed nearly $2 billion for racial justice since the death of Floyd. The biggest individual promise among that came from Michael Jordan, a gift of $100 million.
While everyone appreciates Hastings’ donation for the historically Black institutes, it is a growing concern that financial commitments are not enough to address the racial injustice present in the US. Silicon Valley and many other quarters are still accused of perpetuating racial injustice against not just Blacks but also against most people of color.
As you might know, tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google (Also Youtube), increasingly censor information that does not fit the mainstream narrative. Freedom of speech should be the basic human right, however, in the current era, you are not allowed to share your views anymore. Fortunately, alternative platforms appear that are censorship-free. Minds.com is one of these platforms. You can sign up for free, HERE, and make sure you follow Truth Theory on Minds.
Featured image: re:publica