Netflix Co-CEO Reed Hastings Donates $20 Million to San Francisco’s Minerva University

Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings is donating $20 million to Minerva University, styled as a next-generation institution of higher education.

Founded in 2012 with $25 million in venture capital from Benchmark, San Francisco-based Minerva University is a U.S. accredited non-profit university with more than 600 students and nearly 600 alumni. With Hastings’ $20 million grant, the school plans to “support students with high financial need with scholarships,” boost awareness and enrollment, and expand existing offerings to students and create new ones ranging from academic programs to lab and research initiatives, Minerva University said. Hastings’ prior donations to Minerva supported four-year scholarships for nearly 100 students.

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“I am excited to support Minerva into its next phase of global growth,” Hastings said in a statement. “This gift is intended to set Minerva on a trajectory towards educating many more thousands of students from around the world and dramatically increasing its positive impact.”

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Hastings has a long track record as an educational philanthropist. In 2020, Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, gave $120 million to Spelman College, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund for scholarships to historically Black colleges and universities. Last year, the couple donated $10 million to Tougaloo College, an HBCU in Mississippi. Hastings and Quillin have supported the KIPP Foundation, which runs a national network of tuition-free charter schools serving low-income communities of color.

Minerva touts its undergraduate program as combining “a pathbreaking cross-contextual interdisciplinary curriculum” with an immersive residential experience that spans seven countries along with a “cutting-edge digital learning environment.” The university’s graduate degree programs incorporate a similar approach to learning. Minerva University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Hastings commented, “Minerva graduates have a depth of global cultural understanding, intellectual skills that cross disciplines, and problem-solving abilities unique to higher education. I see incredible potential for Minerva University to increase its positive impact in the world.”

Minverva president Mike Magee said in a statement, “I am honored that Reed Hastings recognizes the uniqueness of our approach at Minerva University and how we educate students to have a profoundly positive impact on the world. Reed deeply supports access to quality education for all students, and this incredibly generous gift validates our efforts to provide global higher education for a better world.”

Hastings currently has a net worth of about $3.4 billion tied to his holdings in Netflix stock. He graduated from Maine’s Bowdoin College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1983. He holds master’s degree in artificial intelligence from Stanford University.

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