Illegal Immigration Advocacy Group


Candy Marshall

Project of:

New Venture Fund

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TheDream.US is a scholarship fund for immigrants, including illegal immigrants, which partners with colleges across the country. The fund accepts applications from teenage and young adult immigrants even if they do not qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs, which shield certain foreign nationals from deportation. The fund claims to have granted financial aid to more than 6,000 immigrants. 1 The fund’s name is a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, proposed legislation that would create a path to permanent residency for certain classes of illegal immigrants. 2

The organization is legally under the umbrella of the left-leaning New Venture Fund. 3


TheDream.US grants scholarships to illegal immigrants trying to attend college, calling them “DREAMers” who arrived in the country when they were young and identify with the United States as the only country they know. Based on their featured success stories, this includes those who were as old as 14 when they arrived and spent most of their childhood in their country of birth. 4


TheDream.US grants two types of scholarships: the National Scholarship and the Opportunity Scholarship. Anyone who arrived to the United States before November 2015 is eligible for financial aid. 5

National Scholarship

TheDream.US calls this scholarship the equivalent of a “Pell Grant” for students and provides up to $34,000 in financial aid and stipends. 6

Opportunity Scholarship

TheDream.US also specifically provides financial aid to applicants in states that do not allow illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition or which bar them from public universities. 7



TheDream.US was founded by two progressive media executives, a former Bush administration official, and a former top Democratic Party official. Amanda Bennett served as the editor of several local newspapers and as the executive editor of Bloomberg News. She currently writes for the Washington Post. Her husband Don Graham is the chairman of the Graham Holdings Company, which formerly published the Washington Post. Carlos Gutierrez served as Secretary of Commerce during President George W. Bush’s second term. Henry R. Munoz III served as finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but is a designer by profession. His design work “acknowledges the rapidly shifting demographics of the United States.” 8

Senior Staff

Candy Marshall is the president of TheDream.US. She previously served as chief human resources officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 9

Maria Gabriela Pacheco is the program director for advocacy, development, and communications at TheDream.US. She entered or remained in the United States as a child without legal authorization. 10

Sadhana Singh is the program and communications manager at TheDream.US. She was formerly an illegal immigrant until she received authorization to remain and work under DACA and previously received a scholarship from the fund. 11


TheDream.US partners with more than 70 colleges in 16 states, which the fund evaluates for their support of illegal immigrant students. All partner colleges assign a “scholar advisor” to assist scholarship recipients with “emotional, lifestyle, and financial challenges.” 12


In September 2020, three illegal immigrants who received TheDream.US scholarships published op-eds in several local newspapers attacking the Trump administration’s efforts to end the DACA program. One of them, Oscar Hernandez Ortiz, previously worked as a public school teacher before taking an advisory board position at the Arizona Department of Education despite his lack of legal status. 13


TheDream.US receives support from several influential families in the media and tech industries, including Don Graham and Amanda Bennet, Jeff Bezos and his then-wife MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos), Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. 14 In January 2018, Bezos and Scott gave $33 million to the fund to provide scholarships to 1,000 illegal immigrants. 15

As of October 2020, TheDream.US operated a GoFundMe fundraiser that had raised over $7.5 million, with the goal of raising $30 million. According to the fundraiser profile, Don Graham and philanthropist Bill Ackman would match all $30 million with contributions of their own. 16


  1.             TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  2.       “S.1291 – DREAM Act,” United States Congress, August 1, 2001. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  3. Grapevine, “TheDream.Us,” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  4.              “Who We Serve,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  5.        “Our Scholarships,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  6.             “National Scholarship,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  7.          “Opportunity Scholarship,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  8.        “Our People,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  9.        “Candy Marshall – President,” October 31, 2016, TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  10.        “Gaby Pacheco – Program Director, Advocacy, Development, and Communications,” TheDream.US, October 31, 2016. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  11.            Sadhana Singh – Program and Communications Manager,” TheDream.US, July 17, 2018. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  12.        “Our Partner Colleges,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  13.       Sadhana Singh, “Three Dreamers’ Op-Eds Make Powerful Case for Permanent Protections and Opportunities for DREAMers,” TheDream.US, September 3, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  14.      “Meet Our Supporters,” TheDream.US. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  15.       “Bezos Donates $33 Million For Dreamers’ Educations,” The NonProfit Times, January 12, 2018. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  16.    “TheDream.US,” GoFundMe. Accessed October 27, 2020.
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