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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at MWC 2017 (Photo by Joan Cros Garcia/Corbis via Getty Images)

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, announced today that they will donate $120 million—or $40 million each—to Spelman, Morehouse College, and 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,” 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.”

Historically black colleges and universities (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,” they said.

The gift is the largest individual scholarship donation provided to HBCUs, the three organizations confirmed.

Spelman says it will use the money for a scholarship fund named after Spelman alumna and groundbreaking civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree.

“At the end of 10 years we will have educated 200 students who will graduate debt free,” Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman, said in a statement. “It’s a liberating gift, that will allow our students to work toward change in their respective communities and careers without financial strain.”

Robert F. Smith at the Morehouse College 135th Commencement. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Morehouse will put the funds toward its College Student Success Program, which launched last year and uses the donations it receives to help students graduate without debt. It too will be able to support at least 200 students. The program’s first donation came from Robert F. Smith, the billionaire founder of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, who shocked the Morehouse College class of 2019 by announcing during his commencement speech that he would pay off the graduates’ student loan debt, and that of their parents.

The gift from Hastings and Quillin will be named the Dr. Michael L. Lomax Student Success Scholarship after current UNCF CEO and 1968 Morehouse graduate. “I feel a profound sense of responsibility to steward their incredible gift to maximum impact and ensure that it advances their belief in and commitment to the principle that ‘Black lives matter,'” said Dr. Lomax.

Morehouse says the average student has loan debt between $33,000 to $40,000. UNCF research, meanwhile, finds that 80 percent of HBCU students use federal student loans versus 55 percent of those at other private and state institutions.

“This life-changing gift from Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings will fund a new generation of Morehouse Men who will be prepared to use their talents to lead and shape America into the nation that it should be—a beacon of opportunity that respects and values the contributions of people of all races, genders, and backgrounds,”  David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College, said in a statement. “I appreciate their generosity and confidence in Morehouse’s record as a voice for truth and justice for marginalized people in the world.”

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