Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive
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,
will fund 1,000 scholarships for students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status, the group said in a press release.
Each recipient would 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 for assisting the young immigrants known as Dreamers.
Mr. Bezos, 54 years old, 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 said.
The donation comes as President
said this week he was pursuing 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 Trump previously rescinded the program in September.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 take shots at Amazon on Twitter, most recently chiding the U.S. Postal Service for charging the retailer “so little … making Amazon richer.” He has also criticized reporting by the Washington Post, which Mr. Bezos owns.
For his part, Mr. Bezos became one of the first tech chief executives to join legal action opposing Mr. Trump’s travel-ban order 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. founder Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, according to Forbes, which has ranked the wealthiest people since 1987. As of this week, Mr. Bezos was worth about $107 billion, according to Forbes.
Amazon’s stock has gained 12% since the beginning of the year, closing at a record $1,305.20 a share on Friday. According to the company’s proxy filing in April, Mr. Bezos’s stake in the company was 16.9%, but he has since sold shares.
The Amazon chief in June tweeted a request for ideas for charitable giving, saying he was drawn to “the right now” in contrast to the long-term focus of most his work.
“I like long-term—it’s a huge lever: Blue Origin, Amazon, Washington Post—all of these are contributing to society and civilization in their own ways,” Mr. Bezos wrote. “But 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.”
Mr. Bezos worked on Wall Street after earning a degree from Princeton University in electrical engineering and computer science. Former Amazon employees say he is known for concentrating on a long-term vision for the company while also diving into details.
The Amazon CEO founded Blue Origin LLC a decade ago to make reusable rockets and to lower launch costs. Last year, Mr. Bezos said he sells about a billion dollars of Amazon stock annually to invest in his rocket company.
Write to Laura Stevens at [email protected]
Source : WSJ