Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have donated $5 million to help undocumented immigrants attend college, Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page.
The donation is aimed at helping 400 youth in the Bay Area over the next five years through TheDream.US, a nonprofit founded in 2013 to provide scholarships to college-bound youth who came to the United States illegally as children.
“Without documentation, it’s often a struggle to get a college education, and they don’t have access to any kind of federal aid,” Zuckerberg said Wednesday. “We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation, and to help everyone in our society achieve their full potential.”
His focus on the Bay Area, where Facebook is headquartered, was meant to help TheDream.US expand its national reach, he added. Within a few hours of the announcement, his Facebook post had attracted 66,000 “Likes.”
The gift from the Facebook founder and billionaire entrepreneur is far from his largest. His $75-million donation to a San Francisco hospital in February is believed to be the biggest private donation to a county-run public medical facility.
In 2013, Zuckerberg made the largest donation of the year among wealthy American philanthropists, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, giving Facebook stock valued at roughly $1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Other Silicon Valley executives have similarly pledged significant donations in recent years as their companies profit from the Bay Area’s booming tech sector.
Zuckerberg, 31, has long supported immigrant rights, and co-founded the lobbying group FWD.us in 2013 with Bill Gates and other tech executives. One of the organization’s top objectives is to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.
It has also lobbied on behalf of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a government program benefiting immigrants who came to the country illegally as young children -- the same people poised to benefit from Zuckerberg’s scholarship funds.
Forbes valued Zuckerberg’s worth at $36 billion as of Wednesday.