Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, donated $33 million to fund scholarships for 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school graduates to go to college.
The money will go to TheDream.US, a nonprofit that has been helping send such kids, known as the dreamers, go to college. The group is already funding scholarships for almost 3,000 kids currently in college, with backing from the foundations of other techies, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Pierre and Pam Omidyar.
Bezos said his father immigrated to the United States at age 16 from Cuba. “He landed in this country alone and unable to speak English,” Bezos said in a statement. “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.”
Dreamers, who were typically brought into the country as young children, are not eligible for federal grants and loans or state aid in 44 states. The group has become a political cause, after President Trump last year rescinded a 2012 order by President Obama allowing immigrants who entered as minors to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. Trump and lawmakers in Congress are discussing a deal to revive the arrangement as part of a broader immigration reform.
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Unlike former Microsoft (MSFT) head Bill Gates, Bezos has not yet decided how to give away the bulk of his vast fortune. Bezos passed Gates to become the richest person in the world last year. Last June, Bezos tweeted that he was looking for suggestions for his charitable giving.
“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 Amazon (AMZN) CEO wrote.
The non-profit was founded by Don Graham, Henry Munoz, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.