ARLINGTON, Va., May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- TheDream.US has issued a challenge to philanthropists: make a contribution to the national scholarship fund TheDream.US and help fund scholarships for at least 5,000 undocumented immigrants with DACA status by raising more than $30 million. To kick off the "I'm In" campaign, TheDream.US' co-founder and former Washington Post publisher Donald E. Graham and The Pershing Square Foundation, co-founded by Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, have each pledged $15 million to provide DREAMers the opportunity to pursue their educational goals. Their new $30 million gift will provide 1,200 additional DREAMers with a $25,000 scholarship that will enable them to obtain a bachelor's degree at any of TheDream.US national partner colleges. This pledge is in addition to their previous commitments of $10 million each.
"One can do many things with charitable contributions. There has never been a more impressive time for charitable giving in America, starting with Bill and Melinda Gates and going on to many others whose dream is to change the world. How can we change the world? I will be betting on DREAMers," said Don Graham, to the students, families and community members present at a May 5 event at The City University of New York (CUNY) where the donations were announced. Graham, a long time champion of education, started DC-CAP, a nonprofit in Washington, DC, that has helped enroll 21,000 students in college, and awarded $31 million in scholarships. He and others who believe in education have already said, "I'm In" to provide access to higher education to DREAMers.
Ackman added, "My great grandparents were immigrants to this country and ultimately paved the way for my parents and me to get a wonderful education. I am delighted to be able to pay it forward by expanding The Pershing Square Foundation's partnership with TheDream.US."
Anyone who is interested in being part of TheDream.US "I'm In" campaign can make a contribution through http://www.thedream.us/donate/. No contribution is too small.
The pledges were made at an event hosted by CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken for the more than 300 CUNY students who have been awarded scholarships valued at more than $5 million from TheDream.US. This is the largest amount received by any university in the United States. CUNY partnered with TheDream.US last year to provide scholarships to undocumented immigrant students who have filed for temporary legal status.
"We are deeply grateful to TheDream.US for helping CUNY students fulfill their dream of obtaining a college education," said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken. "We are profoundly appreciative of the extraordinary generosity of Don Graham and Bill Ackman. We could not ask for better partners who clearly share our passion for expanding access to education to all who would benefit from it. The future of the city, state and nation will be brighter because of their gifts."
Founded last year by Graham, who is now CEO of Graham Holdings Company, his wife, journalist Amanda Bennett, Democratic activist and philanthropist Henry R. Muñoz III, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, TheDream.US is the first multimillion-dollar National Scholarship Fund created to help immigrant youth, with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, achieve their American Dream. Scholarships from TheDream.US fund the completion of a college education. The amount of the awards vary depending upon the student's demonstrated financial need and tuition costs of the college. DREAMer Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA, remain continuously enrolled and remain DACA eligible. For more information and to apply, students should visit http://www.thedream.us/scholars/.
TheDream.US is led by Candy Marshall, a former director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she helped build the foundation's global programs, and Gaby Pacheco, a DREAMer - and a DREAMer advocate- who was part of the 2010 walk, the Trail of Dreams, from Miami to Washington DC, an event that helped launch the DREAMer movement nationwide.
About The Pershing Square Foundation
The Pershing Square Foundation is a private family foundation, based in New York, founded in December 2006 by Karen and Bill Ackman. The Foundation has committed close to $350 million in grants and social investments to support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact. Bill is the CEO and portfolio manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. For more information visit: www.pershingsquarefoundation.org.
202-445-7376 | Gaby.Pacheco@ghco.com
Pershing Square Foundation
SOURCE The Pershing Square Foundation