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Oprah Winfrey Gives $13 Million to Morehouse College

On Monday, Oct. 7, philanthropist Oprah Winfrey paid a visit to Atlanta’s Morehouse College to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her scholarship program. While there, the talk show host made a surprise announcement: she would donate an additional $13 million to the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, bringing her total investment to $25 million.

Winfrey said she first began donating to the liberal arts college in 1989 because of the institution’s “moral code” and mission of preparing black men to lead lives of leadership and service.

“I felt that the very first time I came here,” said Winfrey. “The money was an offering to support that in these young men. I understand that African American men are an endangered species. They are so misunderstood. They are so marginalized.

“Where and when I can lend support to try to change that image, I do,” she added. “That is what Morehouse is doing. It is saying ‘This is who we really are.’”

According to Morehouse President David Thomas, Oprah’s scholarship program has funded the education of almost 600 recipients.

“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” said Thomas. “I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”

Oprah Scholar Nathan Rolle, a senior who is majoring in International Studies and minoring in Journalism, said it was a privilege to meet the woman who made his education possible.

“Getting to meet Ms. Winfrey for the first time in my life, taking an individual photo with her—not a lot of people in the world can say that,” he said. “I’ve looked up to Mrs. Winfrey my entire life. This day is the highlight of my Morehouse experience.”

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Donation News

High Profile Celebs Donate Big Bucks to March for Our Lives

Four donations totaling $2 million are on the way for March for Our Lives, a planned demonstration to take place in Washington D.C. and across the United States on March 24th. March for Our Lives is a protest against the political inaction allowing gun violence to continue to become a regular occurrence in schools across the country.

The donors of such a generous sum are George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Oprah. Clooney was the first to announce that he would be contributing $500,000 and his own presence at the march, swiftly followed by matching contributions from the other three.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School. Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side-by-side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country,” Clooney wrote in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday, February 12th.

Survivors of the Stoneman Douglas massacre have been vocal in their criticism of “thoughts and prayers” coming from politicians who have regularly voted against any attempts to introduce tougher gun laws. The students believe stricter regulations could have prevented the deaths of the 17 people who were murdered in the attack.

Once the donations come in, the event will have raised more than $2.7 million, nearly triple its proposed $1 million goal on GoFundMe.

“In every single city, we are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives. This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected. At this point, you’re either with us or you’re against us,” said Cameron Kasky, one of the leaders of March for Our Lives, in an interview with ABC.

“Not one more,” reads the March’s mission statement. “We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students.”

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Organizations Resources

Oprah Mixes Charity and Chai

Oprah Winfrey
Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

Oprah Winfrey is a woman of many, many talents. From publishing to media, to being a serious philanthropic heavyweight, there isn’t much that she hasn’t conquered. Now, she’s adding one more notch to her entrepreneurial belt. According to Forbes, “Just when you thought Brand Oprah couldn’t extend into any new categories, the media queen can now be found in a Starbucks near you,” of the way that the philanthropic icon is finding new ways to branch out. The article continues, “At the coffee giant’s annual meeting on Wednesday [March 13th], Winfrey took to the stage with her friend Howard Schultz, CEO of the java chain, to announce a new partnership: the Teavana Oprah Chai Tea.”

A partnership between Teavana, Starbucks, and Oprah? This essentially embodies the philanthropic trifecta. Not only will Teavana Oprah Chai Tea demonstrate a strong cooperative effort between the colossal coffee company and a more up-and-coming tea brand, with Oprah at the helm, Starbucks Logoit is also going to be a charitable initiative of massive proportions. Both Teavana and Starbucks have made huge efforts to give back; Teavana has partnered with organizations such as care.org to empower women and girls, and Starbucks and the Schultz Foundation have been instrumental in supporting education and youth-based charities. Oprah’s philanthropic efforts speak for themselves; her reach is global, and she is beloved for how many lives she has touched around the world.

At the Starbucks annual meeting Oprah explained, “Savory and spicy chai, with its deep flavor, has long been a favorite of mine. When Howard Schultz offered to have me come into the Starbucks tasting room and create my very own tea blend, I thought that sounded like such a unique opportunity and fun to the tenth power,” of how excited she was about the collaboration. An avid tea lover, Oprah hopes to share her support of both Starbucks and Teavana, as well as benefit others in the process. Reportedly, sales of the special Oprah Chai Tea will go towards philanthropic ventures focused on education, including Oprah’s South African boarding school for girls.

You can find Oprah’s special chai blend at both Starbucks and Teavana starting April 29th.

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Profiles Resources

Oprah Gives Back

Oprah Winfrey
IMG: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most recognizable, successful women in business.  While most know her from her television talk show, she runs a successful magazine, O Magazine, and has her finger in many other business ventures such as her film company Harpo.

However, she is also very concerned with giving back to the community.  She basically has three main branches of philanthropy which she is involved in.  They are Oprah’s Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy and the Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort.

She has donated money toward education, disaster relief and other causes.  One of the most important things she has done is to open schools for girls in South Africa.  One school is called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls, and their first class has graduated.

On December 31, 2006, the academy opened its doors to a group of hand-picked students.

Oprah said, “People lower their expectations for what a disadvantaged child can do, and I wanted to take that on.”

The school opened with much fanfare as it was a state-of-the art facility.  It had a dance center, dining hall, clean bedding (as it’s a boarding school), well-designed classrooms and indoor plumbing.  Amazingly, the girls were most impressed with the showers and toilets.  After having to walk more than a mile to clean water, this was a vast improvement.  The school even had to implement rules about how long you could use the showers because the girls just wanted to stay in there all day.

One girl said that her room at school is bigger than the house she came from.  Yet, she says, that, for her is home.  These girls do walk the line between two worlds.  Oprah has said she did a little of that growing up.

She said, “I lived in the inner-city with my mother on welfare, and I had an opportunity in the 9th grade to go to a school in the suburbs where I was one of two black kids out of 2,000.  Every morning I would take the city bus with all of the maids.  I would walk into a school where kids had allowances, and they had parents who had wealth, and I had none of that.  I would get on the bus with the maids going home and walk back into my inner-city community and would have to balance who you are here and who you are there.”

Oprah said not all the students will become doctors, lawyers or world leaders, but it will give them opportunities they otherwise would never have had.

To learn more about Oprah, visit our profile.

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Profiles Resources

Sara Blakely Takes the Giving Pledge

sarah Blakely
IMG: David Shankbone via Flickr

Founder of Spanx and self-made billionaire Sara Blakely officially joined the ranks of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and her mentor Richard Branson earlier this month when she signed the Giving Pledge.  The pledge is a call to action from Gates and Buffet to encourage billionaires to give at least half their wealth to charity. Bill Gates has personally agreed to coach her through her philanthropic efforts. Blakely still considers herself in early stages of her business, maintaining sole ownership with many of her wealth assets not yet monetizes.

While the announcement came in early May this year, Sara Blakely has always had her sights set on empowering women and giving to charity. Spanx has set aside profits every year specifically for philanthropy.  The company has a program called Leg-Up, which features products made by female entrepreneurs at no cost to them and has donated $1 million to Oprah Winfrey’s school for girls in South Africa.

Blakely’s letter on The Giving Pledge website says that she is looking forward to learning and collaboration opportunities from the other billionaires who have taken the pledge and have a longer history of giving. She is looking forward to the world’s great untapped resource: women.  She says she recognizes the immense privilege she has being born in the United States, and wants to help the millions of women who are not able to have the opportunities that she has.

Read Sara Blakely’s entire profile here.

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: Jenny Farrelly

Jenny Farrelly
IMG: via kkr.com

Jenny Farrelly is a successful businesswoman who is dedicated to helping young people move up in the world. With a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Farrelly knows how far a good education can take a person.

Her education has taken her to KKR, the private equity giant led by co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts. Jenny Farrelly is a member of the Global Public Affairs team and key media contact for KKR. Her education was specialized for work in finance and corporate communications, and she has worked for other notable corporations like Edelman’s Corporate & Financial Communications practice, Citigroup, and Stifel Nicolas.

Jenny Farrelly’s résumé is enviable, but through her involvement in programs like the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) and Student Sponsor Partners (SSP), she has proven that she’s dedicated to helping others do the same.

To read the entire profile on Jenny Farrelly, visit here.

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Profiles

Charity Drops Armstrong After Confession

lance armstrong
IMG: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

The ripples from Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace are continuing on as more and more people seek to distance themselves from the cyclist. On January 17th, Armstrong had an exclusive interview with Oprah in which he answered her questions more openly and honestly than anyone expected. He admitted to doping throughout his career, something that has caused the revocation of all seven of his Tour de France titles and a lifetime ban from competing.

Two months ago, Armstrong distanced himself from Lifestrong, the cancer charity he founded. Most recently, Athletes for Hope has officially dropped the cyclist. Armstrong co-founded the charity six years ago with Andre Agassi and Mia Hamm as a way to encourage professional and Olympic athletes to “learn about and connect with existing charities rather than establishing their own foundations,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The charity has since removed Armstrong’s photo from their website and at least two “founding athletes” have already left the foundation because of his association with it.

The separation of AFH from Armstrong is said to be a mutual decision between the two. Mr. Agassi remains faithful to the organization despite the anger and sadness he felt at hearing Armstrong’s confession. He said, “the connection to Lance’s choice in his life is irrelevant to me as it relates to our mission and what Athletes for Hope is doing.”

The organization, however, still retains close ties with Livestrong and several people close to Armstrong, including his former lawyer, Mark Levinstein; his agent, Bill Stapleton; and Livestrong’s president, Doug Ulman.

In his interview with Oprah earlier this month, Armstrong agreed that he had made mistakes and should be punished, but didn’t think he necessarily deserved the “death sentence” of never being able to compete again.