Golden Door Scholars

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Our Story


“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

- Emma Lazarus

Ric Elias.jpg

Our Founder

Ric Elias is the CEO of Red Ventures, a portfolio of growing digital companies headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ric’s leadership style and personal life are deeply influenced by his experience as a survivor of Flight 1549, also known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” He is devoted to using his platform to “leave the woodpile higher than he found it” - spinning out multiple nonprofits from Red Ventures over the years, all of which are aimed at creating educational opportunity and economic mobility for under-served groups. Golden Door Scholars is just one of many things that were born out of that day. Click here to hear more of his story.

Golden Door Scholars was founded in 2013 with the goal of promoting economic mobility for undocumented students. In our first year, we awarded 13 scholarships. Since then, we have impacted 360 Dreamers by partnering with schools to cover tuition, room and board for a four-year degree. Our scholars also have access to mentors, internship and job search support, along with other professional growth opportunities.


Help us spread the word to eligible students and high school counselors. Download our flyer to hang and hand out at your school or in your community.

How can I help my student?

Here are resources to support your undocumented student:

  • Click here for an overview of Golden Door Scholars you can print to share with your students.

  • Explore resources for undocumented students at College Board.

  • Review Dream Educational Empowerment Program resources from United We Dream.

How Can I donate?

In most states, undocumented students cannot get in-state tuition. Many private college educations cost well over $200,000. By donating to Golden Door Scholars, you are helping a Scholar cover expenses such as textbooks, tuition, and room and board.*

*For questions or donations greater than $5,000 please contact

Or, mail a check to:
Golden Door Scholars 
1423 Red Ventures Drive
Fort Mill, SC 29707

Golden Door Scholars is a registered 501 c(3) non-profit organization. Tax ID number (EIN) 46-0734672.