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Covid-19 reveals 'inequities' within HBCUs
02:15 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The CEO of Netflix says he will donate $120 million to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), calling the gift “an investment in America’s future.”

Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, and his wife Patty Quillin, said Wednesday they are donating $40 million to Morehouse College, $40 million to Spelman College, and $40 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

“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,” Hastings and Quillin said in a 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.”

The two said HBCUs “have a tremendous record, yet are disadvantaged when it comes to giving.”

“Generally, white capital flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation,” they said. “We hope this additional $120 million donation will help more black students follow their dreams.”

They called on others to also support these institutions to help “reverse generations of inequity in our country.”

HBCUs tend to be less financially stable than other institutions

HBCUs across the board tend to have less financial security than predominantly white institutions, or PWIs. Within both public and private sectors, HBCU endowments lag behind PWIs by at least 70%, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education.

That same report also found that public HBCUs rely on federal, state and local funding more than other public universities, as they tend to lack the big donors and significant secondary sources of income – things like bookstores, parking and athletics – that other institutions may have.

All this has been exasperated In the midst of the coornavirus. HBCUs have been hit worse than other universities, with Quinton Ross, president of Alabama State University, predicting a loss in the millions for ASU alone.

And students at HBCUs take on more debt than their peers at other universities; for HBCU students, the median cumulative federal loan debt is almost double, the report found.

Part of what makes the donation to Morehouse so significant is that it will fund at least 200 students to graduate debt free, the university said in a statement. The average Morehouse student carries debt between $33,000 to $40,000.

Netflix: ‘To be silent is to be complicit’

The donation from Hastings and Quillin is the latest effort from Netflix to help support the black community following nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death.

Floyd, 46, died at the hands of Minneapolis police in May. After video of his death surfaced, it sparked a global movement for justice and an end to police brutality.

On May 30, Netflix tweeted its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, becoming among the first entertainment giants to take a stand amid the protests.

“To be silent is to be complicit,” Netflix tweeted from its main account. “Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”

The tweet received over one million likes.

Hastings also donated $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity.

“Great organization that has been working on this big problem for a decade,” Hastings tweeted on June 2, linking to a tweet from Policing Equity that announced his donation. He urged people to watch a TED Talk from Dr. Phil Goff, who “works police departments to help public safety be more equitable and less deadly,” according to TED Talks.

Earlier this week, Netflix said it will donate $5 million “to organizations dedicated to creating opportunities for black creators, black youth and black-owned businesses, including Ghetto Film School, Black Public Media and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp,” Variety reported.

According to the outlet, Netflix is also matching all employee donations at 200%.