CEO Reed Hastings' joins a growing list of tech leaders ponying up their fortunes to help others and push for societal changes.
Silicon Valley is in a giving mood.
Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings just joined a growing list of tech leaders offering up their vast fortunes for charity. He took to Facebook on Tuesday to announce a new $100 million philanthropy called the Hastings Fund, which will focus on kids' education.
The new endeavor follows a handful of major charitable efforts launched over the past year by leading tech founders who are using their wealth to help others and push for changes they'd like to see. Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he and his wife would create a $45 billion initiative, using nearly all their Facebook shares, to help fund efforts in education, medicine and other fields. Also, Twitter and Square CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey in October said he's giving away more than half of his stake in Square to fund his new Start Small Foundation, which will focus on underserved communities.
These efforts come after Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 16 years ago, which helped popularize philanthropic efforts from tech and business leaders.
Yet, even giving to society is subject to scrutiny. Zuckerberg, for instance, was criticized for creating his foundation as a means of avoiding taxes, an accusation he denied. Additionally, others have complained that when tech leaders are deciding what to fund, it puts too much power in the hands of private citizens instead of governments. Regardless it seems tech leaders, after revamping their own industries, are now hungry to make changes in the broader world. So it seems likely even more of these charitable efforts will continue.
The Hastings Fund is in line with the Netflix CEO's longtime focus on education. Hastings served on the California State Board of Education and is a board member of several educational organizations. The new foundation will operate through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Hastings' net worth is $1.5 billion, according to Forbes.
The first two gifts from his fund will go to the United Negro College Fund and to Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, totaling $1.5 million, to support black and Latino college education.
"The goal of these investments is to provide students of color with exceptional post-secondary educational experiences," Neerav Kingsland, the foundation's CEO, said in a blog post. "There are a lot students in this country who don't have access to amazing schools."