Will.i.am’s $100k donation surprise

Grammy-award winning hip hop artist Will.i.am jetted into Auckland for a company party last night, but he’s not going home without leaving something behind.

The Black Eyed Peas frontman has donated $100,000 to a network of low decile schools in the city’s low-income areas toward providing children with new computers and iPads.

He surprised the children at Point England Primary School where he handed the cheque over to the Manaiakalani Trust this morning.

“My mission is to help transform the lives of disadvantaged youths and I hope my donation … will help these young people gain the skills they need for tomorrow’s job market,” he said.

Growing up in a “the projects” of Los Angeles, Will.i.am said that it takes hard work and determination to make a success of yourself.

“I grew up in East LA in an incredibly tough neighbourhood. My family taught hard work pays off, they stressed the importance of a good education and work ethic, and gave me the best chance to achieve my dreams,” he said.

“Even if just one person from New Zealand can go on to do well then this will be worth it. One person could go on to achieve greatness if they are given the right tools – technology – to do it.”

The singer has a passion for science and technology and plans on going back to school in September to study computer science.

He’s tossing up between MIT, “where all the wizards go”, or California Institutes of the Arts on his home turf.

Last year, will.i.am teamed up with Nasa to premiere his song, Reach for the Stars, from the Curiosity rover on Mars.

It was transmitted to Earth via radio waves.

The song was part of a special educational event for US students when he teamed with the space agency for his i.am.FIRST programme.

Will.i.am was in New Zealand to perform at the Hallenstein Brother’s “Ultimate After Party”.

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