Published June 23, 2020 by Bowdoin News

Reed Hastings ’83 Makes $120 Million Gift to Historically Black Colleges and Education Fund

Reed Hastings ’83 and his wife, Patty Quillin, will donate $120 million to Morehouse and Spelman Colleges—two historically black colleges in Atlanta, Georgia—and to the United Negro College Fund.
Reed Hastings at Bowdoin
Reed Hastings gave a talk at Bowdoin in 2016.

The gift will be split three ways to help more students graduate with less college debt. The $40 million for Morehouse College will be the largest gift in the college's 153-year history, according to The Washington Post.

In an interview with CBS News, Hastings said, "With the tragedy in America and everyone feeling hopeless, we realized this is the time to do something bigger, and to really try to bring the HBCU's [historically black colleges and universities] story front and center." 

Hastings also said that their gift, which highlights "great black achievement through the HBCUs" is a mere "drop in the bucket compared to the need," and that he hopes it spurs more investment.

"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," the couple 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."

In 2017, Hastings gave Bowdoin a gift to create THRIVE, an initiative to transform the college experience for low-income and first-generation college students by supporting their transition to Bowdoin and fostering a greater sense of belonging and achievement here. Currently, 174 rising sophomores and juniors are part of THRIVE, and eighty incoming first-year students.