The Weeknd (né Abel Tesfaye) has been pretty open about the fact that he dropped out of high school, but that doesn't mean he doesn't care about education. In fact, the Canadian R&B star cares so much that he recently donated $50,000 to the University of Toronto to help the school and a local organization develop an Ethiopic Studies program.
According to The Toronto Star, the donation came after the Bikila Award organization, which "foster[s] academic, professional and business excellence and promote volunteerism among persons of Ethiopian origin," reached out to The Weeknd in what they thought was a longshot of a request for funding. But the singer was apparently touched by the gesture and signed on immediately.
"It’s unbelievable,” Bikila Award board member Tam Gebeyehu told the Star. “He grew up in Toronto as an Ethiopian-Canadian, and now he’s giving back to the community.”
In 2014, the Bikila Award presented Tesfaye with its Professional Excellence Award before he'd achieved his current level of pop stardom, a new level of fame they're proud to see hasn't dimmed his commitment to their cause.
“Back then he was doing a lot of stuff, but was still a boy from Scarborough just rising to fame,” said Gebeyehu. “His donation helps us preserve our culture and share it with everyone else.”
Thanks to the Weeknd's donation, the Bikila Awards have raised more than $170,000 for the program. The funds will go toward establishing a course on Ge'ez, an ancient Ethiopian script and language.