Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is granting $33 million in college scholarships for undocumented immigrant high-school graduates in the U.S., according to TheDream.Us, a nonprofit education group.
The grant, made by Mr. Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, will fund 1,000 scholarships for students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status, the group said in a press release.
The students will receive a total of $33,000 in scholarship aid over four years to cover the costs of their education. Nearly 3,000 students currently are part of the group’s program.
Mr. Bezos, 54, said in a press release that his father came to the U.S. from Cuba at age 16 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,” Mr. Bezos added.
The donation comes as President Donald Trump said this week he’s closing in on a deal with lawmakers that would shield hundreds of thousands of DACA immigrants from deportation in exchange for an expansion of a border wall and an end to the visa lottery program. Mr. Trump previously rescinded the program in September.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Bezos exchanged barbs prior to the president’s election. Mr. Trump has continued to criticize Amazon on Twitter, most recently castigating the U.S. Postal Service for charging the retailer “so little … making Amazon richer.”
Mr. Bezos became one of the first tech chief executives to join legal action opposing Mr. Trump’s executive order on immigration last year.
Other tech-related donors to TheDream.US include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, according to the organization.
Mr. Bezos last year passed Microsoft Corp.’s founder Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, according to Forbes, which has tracked a list of wealthiest people since 1987. As of this week, Mr. Bezos was worth about $107 billion, according to Forbes.
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SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, Laura Stevens