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Amazon's Bezos to donate $33M for DACA student scholarships

By Sara Shayanian
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife Mackenzie on Friday donated $33 million in scholarship assistance to members of the DACA program. File Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3640131f13b4b981d90ae2bebb015fdb/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife Mackenzie on Friday donated $33 million in scholarship assistance to members of the DACA program. File Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool | License Photo

Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Friday he will support students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with $33 million in scholarships.

Bezos and wife MacKenzie's donation will fund 1,000 scholarships -- since the program's "Dreamers" are not eligible for federal financial aid.

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"My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan," Jeff Bezos said.

"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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The organization Bezos donated to, TheDream.us, partners with low-cost colleges in 15 states to help 800,000 DACA recipients pay for college.

"Our students are highly motivated and determined to succeed in college and in life. We're a three-and-a-half-year-old program, so we don't yet have graduation rates," Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.us, said.

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Other donors to the initiative include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Pershing Square Foundation; the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Pierre and Pam Omidyar; the Robin Hood Foundation; The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the PepsiCo Foundation; the Coca-Cola Foundation and Don, Bill and Steve Graham.

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"Everyone who believes in education and is a friend of the Dreamers would like to thank Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos for this magnificent gift," Marshall added. "It is a shot in the arm for Dreamer students at a time when some are questioning whether they should be in the United States at all."

Bezos and 100 other business leaders co-signed a letter to Congress last week calling for legal relief for DACA members after President Donald Trump announced his administration would end the program.

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