Today’s Solutions: September 22, 2021

Many prominent public figures have donated towards causes that support racial justice in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, but no donation has gone further than that of Netflix founder Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin. The duo recently put forth $120 million that will be invested in America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The donation is the first to exceed $100 million from any billionaire philanthropist couple for this cause. The gift speaks to how some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest are trying to marshal their resources to support nonprofits that bridge racial gaps, even though it’s to be determined whether tech companies will actually usher in a more fundamental change in Silicon Valley’s power structure.

Hastings will donate $40 million each to two of America’s most prominent HBCUs, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, and another $40 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), which funds scholarships for historically black schools.

The donations will add considerably to the endowments of the HBCUs, which on average are less than half the size of those of other colleges. Spelman’s endowment sits at $390 million; Morehouse’s at $145 million; and UNCF’s at $100 million.

Some advocates may argue that the federal government could fund these schools more heavily if taxes were raised on people like Hastings, but until that happens, these types of donations go a long way.

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