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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth, is donating $33 million to fund college scholarships for 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school students who live in the U.S. with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status.
In a press release announcing the gift, Bezos shared that his father had come to America from Cuba when he was 16 years old with no English skills.
“With a lot of grit and determination – and the help of some remarkable organizations in Delaware – my dad became an outstanding citizen, and 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.”
The $33 million will go to TheDream.US, a nonprofit education group that provides financial aid to DACA students to help them pay for college. The organization will then give 1,000 DACA students a total of $33,000 each in scholarship aid over four years to cover their higher education costs.
A source close to the philanthropic effort confirmed to Forbes that Don Graham, co-founder of TheDream.US, wrote to Bezos in response to a June 2017 tweet from the Amazon chief executive that asked for ideas on a philanthropic strategy.
In the tweet, Bezos made clear that he wanted ideas that would have immediate impact and help the world “right now,” as opposed to his long-term business strategies.
Graham “wrote to Jeff letting him know that this organization and the individuals that would benefit from it exactly fit that criteria,” the source said.
As the richest man in the world, having overtaken long term title holder Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates in October 2017, Bezos has left many wondering about his philanthropic plans. With his fortune soaring $50 billion in two years’ time, including nearly $5 billion this week, Bezos, who is worth $108.6 billion, has plenty of money to spread around.