(CNN Money) — Jeff Bezos is helping 1,000 Dreamers go to college.
The Amazon CEO and his wife, MacKenzie, donated $33 million to TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The grant is the largest in the organization’s history. It will go to DACA-eligible graduating high school students around the country.
Each student will get $33,000 in aid over four years to help pay tuition and fees. The students will be eligible to attend one of 76 colleges and universities in 15 states that partner with the scholarship fund. Nearly 3,000 undocumented students are enrolled today through TheDream.US.
The organization says Dreamers are ineligible for federal grants and loans, and must pay out-of-state or international tuition—often more than three times in-state tuition—in more than 15 states.
Bezos is the richest person in the world. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts his wealth at $108 billion. In a statement on Friday, he touched on his father’s background as a 16-year-old who emigrated to the United States from Cuba.
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan,” 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. MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers by funding these scholarships.”
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg gave $5 million to TheDream.US to fund college scholarships.
Bezos’ donation is the latest step by the nation’s top CEOs to protect Dreamers. President Trump moved to rescind DACA in September, and it would end March 5.
More than 100 business leaders, including Bezos, signed a letter to Congress this week urging Congress to pass legislation preserving provisions of the program. Failure to act will cost businesses valuable employees and hurt the economy, they said.
DACA allows almost 700,000 15- to 36-year-olds to obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in college and legally secure jobs.
The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.