Philanthropists Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, have donated $120 million to Morehouse College, Spelman College, and the United Negro College Fund for scholarships. Each college and the UNCF will receive $40 million.
In a press release Morehouse said its share of the donation will go to its Student Success Program to establish a fund that will allow at least 200 students to graduate debt free. The history-making contribution is the largest gift to Morehouse College in the institution’s l53-year history and has contributed to a record year in which the college will raise more than $105 million.
Spelman also said in a statement posted to Facebook that the gift was the largest it had ever received for scholarship funding. Over the next 10 years, 200 first-year students will be able to attend Spelman with a full four-year scholarship thanks to the donation.
Since Quillin and Hastings said they did not want scholarships set up in their own names, encouraging the institutions to name them “to symbolize great black achievement” through historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Spelman will use its allocation to fund a scholarship named for Spelman alumna Dovey Johnson Roundtree, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney whose groundbreaking 1955 bus desegregation case helped dismantle the practice of separate but equal.
“We’ve supported these three extraordinary institutions for the last few years because we believe that investing in the education of black youth is one of the best ways to invest in America’s future,” said Quillin and Hastings in a media statement. “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. HBCUs have a tremendous record, yet are disadvantaged when it comes to giving. Generally, white capital flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation. 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.”