The donation is the largest ever individual contribution to support scholarships at historically black colleges and universities, according to a news release.
Each institution will receive $40 million. Spelman plans to use the funds to create a scholarship named after Dovey Johnson Roundtree, an alumna and civil rights attorney who helped dismantle the practice of separate but equal. The money will provide full scholarships to 20 first-year students annually.
"At the end of 10 years we will have educated 200 students who will graduate debt free," Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman, said in the release. "It's a liberating gift, that will allow our students to work toward change in their respective communities and careers without financial strain."
The donation comes at a time when the country is reckoning with its racist history. Protests in each state have been occurring for weeks after George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man, was killed by a white police officer.
"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," Quillin and Hastings said in the release. "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."
They continued, "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."