Netflix has said it intends to set aside approximately two per cent of its cash reserves for initiatives focused on supporting Black communities in the US, following widespread racial equality protests worldwide.
It will start with an initial tranche of $35m, $25m of which will go into a new fund called the Black Economic Development Initiative. Managed by a local non-profit, the funds will go to Black financial institutions serving low and moderate-income communities and Black community development corporations.
A further $10m will be donated to Hope Credit Union for creating opportunity in underserved communities.
“This capital will fuel social mobility and prosperity in the low- and moderate-income communities these groups serve,” Netflix said,
The move comes as US companies face increasing pressure from shareholders, customers and staff to take action against widespread racial inequality, after the killing of a Black man named George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.
Several racial equality programmes have been revealed this month, including major spending plans by Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google.
Protests organised by the Black Lives Matter movement continue to happen weekly in London, as Britons gather to criticise police and government treatment of Black and communities of colour.
A number of statues representing figures from Britain’s colonial past have been taken down or boarded up in recent weeks, as cities and councils reckon with the threat of vandalism and seek new ways of engaging with the country’s past.
Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin donated $120m to historically Black colleges and universities this month in response to the protests, which continue to occur worldwide.
“We plan to redirect even more of our cash to Black-led and focused institutions as we grow, and we hope others will do the same,” said Netflix talent acquisition director Aaron Mitchell, who is leading the initiative alongside the firm’s treasurer.
“For example, if every company in the S&P 500 allocated a modest amount of their cash holdings into efforts like the Black Economic Development Initiative, each one percent of their cash would represent $20–$30bn of new capital. And that would help build stronger communities, offering more Black families pathways to prosperity and a more equitable future.”