Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will donate $33 million to DACA students
Jeff Bezos is donating $33 million to a scholarship fund for “dreamers,” immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Bezos will support TheDream.Us, a program that aims to help dreamers who often don’t qualify for federal financial aid or in-state tuition, graduate from college.
The program partners with 74 colleges and universities, including George Mason University, University of Washington, Hunter College, Rutgers University, Arizona State University, The City College of New York, and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Bezos’ grant is the largest in the organization’s history. TheDream.Us claimed in a statement that the funds would give 1,000 undocumented immigrants with DACA status the opportunity to attend college.
Dreamers who are enrolled in college under TheDream.US receive $33,000 in scholarship aid over four years. 2,850 are currently enrolled.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Despite Bezos’ lack of philanthropic direction in the past, the move isn’t altogether surprising. Bezos permanently surpassed Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates to become the world’s richest person in October, and was named the richest person of all time Tuesday.
With this new position may come increased public scrutiny towards Bezos’ giving, or lack thereof, as it did for Bill Gates when he ascended to the mantle. While Gates didn’t begin to build the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation until after he stepped down as Microsoft’s CEO, it’s possible Bezos could step in earlier — he already sits on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation, which his parents, Jackie and Mike Bezos, run.
Additionally, the cause, for Bezos, is personal.
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Ban,” Bezos said in a statement.
“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.”