June 23, 2024

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Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings donates $1.1 billion to charity

2 min read

Last week, Netflix cofounder, executive chairman, and former CEO Reed Hastings gave about 40% of his company stock—worth about $1.1 billion—away as a gift. An SEC filing from Jan. 24 shows Hastings giving the 2 million shares to an unnamed entity. The filing includes a transaction code marked “G,” which indicates a “bona fide gift.”

It’s a stunningly large donation, not just Hastings’s largest ever, but representing something like 20% of his net worth. After this donation, Hastings is worth an estimated $4.1 billion, per Forbes, much of which is tied up in his remaining ownership of just under 3 million Netflix shares through his family trust, worth roughly $1.7 billion.

Hastings, along with his wife, Patty Quillin, has long supported an array of charitable initiatives, including a gift of $120 million to the United Negro College Fund and two historically Black colleges in 2020. Hastings and Quillin have also signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge. But because of its structure, this particular contribution likely comes with stunningly large tax savings.

The gift went to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), a charity geared at addressing systemic inequalities in the Bay Area, a Netflix spokesperson told Bloomberg, which was among the first to report on the donation. The gift will likely be used in the foundation’s initiatives for affordable housing, childhood development, and disaster relief, among other causes. 

SVCF is a popular destination for the area’s philanthropic tech billionaires; Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is a donor, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, have given $1.5 billion to SVCF, Variety reported. 

The significance of a donor-advised fund

The Wall Street Journal reported on a different reason for this charity’s popularity, especially with Northern California tech luminaries: privacy and the biggest possible tax break. The foundation offers…

Jane Thier

2024-01-31 16:57:38

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