Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, an independent film producer, are personally donating $10 million to Tougaloo College, a historically Black college and university in Mississippi, and the school’s partnership with Brown University.
Of the total, $5 million will fund scholarships at Tougaloo, in Jackson, Miss., and $5 million will establish the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership Scholarship Fund at Brown, which is located in Providence, R.I. The gift is the largest ever to the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership, which began in 1964 during the civil rights movement, and has connected more than 760 students, faculty and staff from both institutions through academic exchanges, fellowships, research projects and other initiatives.
In 2020, the couple donated $120 million to two HBCUs — Spelman College and Morehouse College –and the United Negro College Fund for scholarship programs.
“HBCUs have been vastly undervalued for a long time,” Hastings and Quillin said in a statement. “They have an incredible track record of graduating so many Black leaders across the U.S. — doctors, lawyers, engineers and more. By investing in the extraordinary students who attend Tougaloo and Brown, we’re investing in America’s future.”
Quillin and Hastings, who has a net worth of about $4 billion through Netflix stock holdings, have a long history of supporting financially disadvantaged Black and Latino students. That started 25 years ago with the formation of the KIPP Foundation, which runs a national network of tuition-free charter schools serving low-income communities of color.
Tougaloo president Carmen J. Walters said the funds will provide crucial need-based scholarships to talented undergraduates, including many who continue to contend with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The remarkable personal gift to the historic Brown-Tougaloo Partnership from philanthropists Reed Hastings and Patricia Quillin will transform the lives of Tougaloo College students,” Walters said in a statement.
The new Brown-Tougaloo Partnership Scholarship Fund enabled by the couple’s donation will have an estimated initial annual payout of between $200,000 and $250,000 (a number expected to grow over time) to help Tougaloo students pay for costs including tuition for graduate or medical studies at Brown and for undergraduate semester exchange programs.
According to Hastings, Brown’s commitment to engaging with Tougaloo in the early 1960s inspired him to support the two institutions’ partnership. “This relationship has enriched so many lives over the last six decades,” he said in a statement. “We wanted to make sure this special bond continues to prosper and thrive so that future generations of Tougaloo and Brown students can keep sharing new perspectives and generating new ideas.”
Hastings graduated from Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Me., with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1983. He holds master’s degree in artificial intelligence from Stanford University.