Along with his wife, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has donated $33 million to help students under the DACA program go to college. TheDream.Us is a national scholarship fund that provides aid to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as kids, and who are protected from deportation under DACA.
Bezos’ contribution is the largest that the organization has seen. The $33 million will be available to graduating high school students around the United States who are protected by DACA.
Each benefiting student will receive $33,000 in aid over a four-year time period. The money is intended to help these students pay for tuition and fees.
TheDream.Us partners will 76 colleges and universities in 15 states across the country. Graduating high schoolers who receive aid from Bezos’ grant will be eligible to attend any one of these schools. Currently, there are 3,000 undocumented students enrolled through the scholarship.
Jeff Bezos Announces His Philanthropic Effort
Bezos has made headlines in the past several months as the richest person in the world, recently gaining an edge on Bill Gates for the title. But his name is a gaping hole in the famous Giving Pledge, a promise between many of the world’s wealthiest people to give away most of their wealth to charitable causes during the course of their lifetime.
In June, Bezos expressed on Twitter that he wanted to find a cause worth his philanthropic efforts. So he asked the world at large what they thought that cause should be. “I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact,” the tech mogul tweeted.
So why did Jeff Bezos settle on a $33 million grant for TheDream.Us scholarship? He released a statement on Friday that got to the core of his reasons behind the massive grant. It all centered on his father’s history, who at sixteen years old emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba.
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan,” the Amazon CEO stted. “He landed in this country alone and unable to speak English. With a lot of grit and determination – and the help of some remarkable organizations in Delaware – my dad became an outstanding citizen, and he continues to give back to the country that he feels blessed him in so many ways. MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers by funding these scholarships.”
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Other Business Moguls Make Moves to Protect DACA
Bezos isn’t the only billionaire to donate to the scholarship. In 2015, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg gave $5 million to theDream.US. Bezos’ grant is another move among the country’s top business moguls to protect the children under DACA. President Trump made moves to rescind DACA back in September, which would see its termination on March 5.
In the past week, over 100 business leaders signed a letter urging Congress to pass legislation that would preserve the program. The letter notes that failure to pass such legislation will result in the loss of valuable employees for many of these businesses, and will ultimate hurt the U.S. economy. Currently, DACA makes it possible for nearly 700,000 people from the ages of 15 to 36-years-old to obtain drivers licenses, enroll in college, and be legally eligible for employment in the country.
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Data Source: thedream.us, money.cnn.com