ATLANTA, June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the next 10 years, 200 first-year students will be able to attend Spelman College with a full four-year scholarship thanks to a generous gift from philanthropists committed to educational equity.
Philanthropists Patty Quillin and her husband, Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Netflix, have aligned their resources with social action by awarding $120 million to Spelman, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund. The gift is the largest ever contribution by an individual in support of scholarships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
"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. "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."
As devotees of education reform with a deep interest in social equity and education, the couple believes that one of the most powerful ways to support the next generation of Americans is through the education of future Black men and women leaders. Quillin and Hastings have long given to educational institutions, starting in 1997 with their support for schools like and including the KIPP charter school network that serves overwhelmingly low-income Black and Latino students.
"This historic gift in response to the historic moment we're experiencing comes from two people who care deeply about education, equity and the future of our country. We are enormously grateful for this affirmation of the importance of the work that HBCUs do to educate the next generation of Black leaders," saidMary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman.
Each institution will receive $40 million. 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.
Annually, the gift will provide 20 talented, first-year students with full scholarships, which include tuition, and room and board.
"At the end of 10 years we will have educated 200 students who will graduate debt free," said Dr. Campbell. "It's a liberating gift, that will allow our students to work toward change in their respective communities and careers without financial strain."
As the U.S. searches for ways to start addressing the inequities faced by Black people, UNCF, Spelman and Morehouse urge other philanthropists to invest in HBCUs—institutions that improve mobility and create new generations of leaders, increasing justice, equality and opportunity in America.