Published Jun 17, 2020Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has pledged to donate millions of dollars to historically Black colleges in the form of student scholarships, while also building a teachers' retreat in Colorado aimed at educational reform.
Hastings and his wife will donate $40 million USD of his $4.8 billion fortune to three recipients: the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College and Morehouse College, in the wake of ongoing unrest surrounding racism in America. The $120 million USD pledge follows his contribution of $100 million to an education fund in 2016.
Hastings explained that now is the time when "everyone needs to figure out" how to contribute to solving systemic racism. The organizations said it is the largest individual gift in support of student scholarships at HBCUs.
Meanwhile, Hastings is also quietly building a 2,100-acre luxury teacher training facility in Bailey, CO, called the Retreat Land at Lone Rock. According to Vox's Recode, the facility will function as a leadership retreat for educators and has allegedly cost Hastings roughly $20 million to build so far.
"The proposed Conference and Retreat Facility will be run as a nonprofit institute serving the public education community's development of teachers and leadership," a Hastings aide told Vox.
Skeptics remain uneasy about the power dynamics involved in pouring money into educational initiatives like these and have expressed concerns about the takeover of the rural town of Bailey. As Business Insider notes, education initiatives like this, led by billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates in the past, haven't exactly garnered the shining successes they sought out.
During quarantine, Netflix's worth climbed to $194 billion, having risen $50 billion in 2020 as of April, according to Forbes.