In a post on Facebook, Hastings wrote that the Hastings Fund "will donate these funds in the best way possible for kids' education." The fun has already announced inaugural grants totaling $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund and Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Neerav Kingsland, who previously served as the CEO of New Schools for New Orleans and who is senior education fellow at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, has been named CEO of the fund, of which Hastings is the sole trustee. Hastings and Patty Quillin signed the Giving Pledge in 2012.
According to the fund's website, "too many children do not have access to amazing schools. Our aim is to partner with communities to significantly increase the number of students who have access to rich and holistic educational experiences."
Hastings has long been an advocate of education reform, charter schools, and online learning — supporting a successful effort to loosen California's charter law in 1998, serving on that state's board of education, helping to launch the NewSchools Venture Fund and Aspire Public Schools, and supporting Rocketship Education and the Khan Academy. He also has served on the boards of the California Charter Schools Association, the KIPP Foundation, and ed tech company DreamBox Learning. Alluding to Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other tech billionaires who have been accused by some of using their wealth to reshape education according to their own ideas, thereby circumventing the democratic process, Hastings told Education Next in 2015 that "a public advocate needs a thick skin and a respect for opposing arguments."