August 15, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Announces Additional $250,000 Donation to the DREAM Fund During Historic Dream Relief Day

Bringing Total to $275,000 to Assist Students in Illinois without Legal Status Obtain a Higher Education
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Emanuel announced today that $250,000 in private donations has been raised for the Illinois DREAM Fund. The Mayor made the announcement during the historic Dream Relief Day hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and attended by Senator Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez.  Today’s donation brings the total to $275,000 in private donations raised by the Mayor. The private donations include: $100,000 from Haim Saban, Chairman, Univision, $150,000 from unused, privately raised NATO funds, and $25,000 from Western Union announced in March. 

“On this historic day when students are for the first time able to apply for deferred action encouraging them to continue pursuing their education, we are pleased to announce this important donation of an additional $250,000 that will ensure Chicago’s undocumented youth have access to a higher education and a bright future,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am proud to join Senator Durbin, Congressman Gutierrez, and ICIRR in celebrating this historic Dream Relief Day that will give families and students across the country a better chance to achieve the American Dream.”

With the total $275,000 Illinois Dream Fund donation, nearly 100 DREAM youth would be able to complete their first year in City Colleges of Chicago’s College to Career program; ensuring that they have the skills to meet the demand for careers in growing fields.

The DREAM fund is a scholarship account funded entirely by private dollars to help students without legal status obtain higher education.

Dream Relief day celebrates the first opportunity for undocumented students to apply for the Obama administration’s policy of ‘deferred action,’ providing an opportunity for nearly one million young immigrants nationwide and 75,000 in Illinois to be shielded from deportation and eligible for work permits, driver’s licenses, and other basic protections. 

Western Union donated $25,000 to the Illinois DREAM Fund in March of 2012 during the Office of New Americans Small Business Series, an innovative series of quarterly events that will foster small business growth in immigrant communities throughout Chicago.

Since the creation of the Office of New Americans (ONA), the City has strengthened support for immigrant communities, entrepreneurs and businesses. The ONA recently announced the creation of the Chicago New Americans initiative which brings together the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to offer assistance to 10,000 eligible, law abiding, permanent residents in Chicago become naturalized, U.S. citizens. 

The ONA has also created an Advisory Council formed by 50 individuals who represent Chicago’s business, academia, civic, philanthropic, and community leaders. They will identify immigrant challenges, strategies and potential solutions and will, together with the ONA, present the plan to the Mayor later this summer. The ONA also hosted a New Americans Small Business Series, an innovative series of quarterly events that will foster small business growth in immigrant communities throughout Chicago.

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