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Jeff Bezos writes big check to help ‘dreamers’

BY CSA Staff

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will help 1,000 “dreamers” go to college.

Bezos, whose adoptive father immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, and his wife MacKenzie, have made a $33 million grant to the nation’s largest scholarship program for dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The grant to TheDream.US is the largest in the organization’s history.

The donation by the Bezos will give 1,000 undocumented immigrant graduates of U.S. high schools with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status the opportunity to go to college, the organization said. Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US., called the donation “a shot in the arm for Dreamer students at a time when some are questioning whether they should be in the United States at all.”

The donation comes as legislators and the White House struggle to come up with a deal to address the status of the young undocumented immigrants who could face deportation when DACA winds down, as ordered in September by President Trump, in March. It also comes as Trump continues his thinly veiled criticism of Bezos, citing his concern about Amazon’s impact on the U.S. Postal Service.

Dreamers – 800,000 of whom have received DACA status since 2012 – face a variety of challenges when it comes to attending college. They are ineligible for federal grants and loans, and get no state aid in 44 states. They also must pay out-of-state or international tuition, which often more than three times in-state tuition in more than 15 states.

In his statement, Bezos cited the experience of his father, who came to the U.S. from Cuba when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan.

“He landed in this country alone and unable to speak English,” Bezos said. “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.”

TheDream.US partners with more than 70 low-cost colleges in 15 states. Dreamers receive a total of $33,000 in scholarship aid over four years to help pay the cost of tuition, fees and books. 2,850 students are currently enrolled in college under the program.

Mike and Jackie Bezos (parents of Jeff) are also among the early donors to TheDream.US., as is The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have also donated to the fund, which was established by Donald Graham, the former publisher of The Washington Post. He sold the company to Bezos in 2013.

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Petco broadens pet service offerings

BY Marianne Wilson

Petco is delving deeper into pet medical care with the expansion of in-store veterinary services.

The pet supplies and services retailer has opened in-store veterinary hospitals in its stores in Menifee, California, and Highland Village, Texas. Petco opened its first veterinary hospital in October 2017, in Aldine, Texas. It is operated by Thrive Affordable Vet Care, which will also operate the hospital in California. The facility in Texas will be operated by The Pet Vet.

The Pet Vet hospital will offer full-service medical and urgent care seven days a week, spay and neuter, full in-house diagnostic laboratory equipment, advanced ultrasounds, dentistry and more. The Thrive facilities offer a large suite of services as well.

“While pet health and wellness are increasingly important to pet parents, navigating veterinary services in particular can be confusing and overwhelming,” Petco CEO Brad Weston said at the opening of Petco’s first in-store veterinary hospital. “Understanding what pets need at each stage of life, what constitutes routine care, urgent or specialty care, and when to seek veterinary expertise are common challenges pet parents face. By expanding our in-store veterinary services, Petco’s veterinary professionals can help pet parents through every step of their pets’ health and wellness needs, all in one convenient location.”

In addition, Petco will also celebrate the grand opening of a new store in Reisterstown, Md., this month.

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Retailer’s new ad doubles as pregnancy test

BY Marianne Wilson

Home furnishing giant Ikea’s new magazine ad has an unusual extra.

The advertisement, which is running in a Swedish women’s magazine, includes a modified pregnancy test strip. It invites women to dab urine on the strip and then wait a couple of minutes. If the results are positive, a 50% discount offer for a crib is revealed on the ad (for members of Ikea’s loyalty program).

“Peeing on this ad may change your life,” reads the ad, which showcases the retailer’s Sundvik crib. “If you are expecting, you will get a surprise right here in the ad.”

The news of the ad was first reported in the U.S. by Adweek

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