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Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

American presenter, actress and one of the world's most famous philanthropists Oprah Winfrey

Poor childhood, suffering, and violence from her brothers – Oprah Winfrey's childhood was difficult and painful. But despite all that, she grew up to become a famous actress, presenter, and one of the most famous philanthropists.

The first black woman billionaire, Oprah has become a historical figure who has influenced the lives of many around the world. Winfrey says that the main goal of her charity work is "to lead, educate, inspire and empower women and children around the world," which she has accomplished by donating millions of dollars to worthy organizations. OBOZ.UA tells about Oprah Winfrey's charity.

The fact that the girl's childhood was quite difficult is especially significant in Oprah's life. She grew up in rural Mississippi, USA. At first, she was raised by her grandparents in extreme poverty and strictness. Then she was taken in by her mother, but life did not get any easier as her cousins began to show sexual interest in her. Having survived violence and abuse in her childhood, she eventually grew into a strong personality. This experience has directly influenced Winfrey's fight against global poverty and inspired women to empower themselves.

Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

Because of her personal history of abuse – and to help others who have been abused – Winfrey began campaigning for a national database of child abusers in 1991. Then US President Bill Clinton signed the so-called "Oprah's Bill" into law in December 1993 – a central part of the National Child Protection Act that created a national registry of child abuse convictions.

Over the years, Ms. Winfrey has donated millions of dollars of her own money to a variety of interests and charities. A significant portion of her donations has gone through three main charities: "Oprah's Angel Network, which has been widely publicized on her show; her foundation, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation; and the Oprah Winfrey Operating Fund, which exclusively supports her Leadership Academy in South Africa.

Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

Oprah's Angel Network

Oprah has always said that education is the door to freedom and a chance for a better future. Through her private philanthropy, she has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that support the education and empowerment of women, children, and families in the United States and around the world. Among her various philanthropic contributions, she has donated millions of dollars to provide better education for students who have the ability but not the means. The "Oprah Winfrey Scholarship Program" was created to provide scholarships to students who intend to use their education to benefit their communities in the United States and beyond.

Once, during an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, the host encouraged viewers to use their lives to make a difference in the lives of others. This was the beginning of the Oprah's Angels Network, a public charity organization. Together, they have raised more than $80 million, and these donations have been used to fund charitable projects and grants around the world.

Oprah's Angel Network has helped establish 60 schools in 13 countries, establish scholarships, support women's shelters, and build youth centers and homes, changing the future for people around the world. By 2010, the organization had raised a whopping $80 million, which went to various causes, such as helping women's shelters, before the organization stopped accepting donations and eventually disbanded.

"Through this foundation, Oprah Winfrey has used her ability to convene and highlight issues close to her heart and put it into action. She has harnessed the power of her personality, celebrity, and achievements to solve problems that affect millions," said Caroline Underwood, CEO of Philanthropy.

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation

Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

This fund was established to provide funds exclusively for the operation of the Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Oprah Winfrey founded this school in January 2007. Its main goal is to provide school education in this region. The academy accepts students who have experienced poverty in childhood and faced traumatic life experiences.

Education is central to Winfrey's fight against global poverty. This academy has modern equipment and facilities that contribute to an excellent learning environment and even maintains a 600-seat theater. The vast majority of girls who have graduated from this academy have gone on to top foreign universities such as Oxford and Stanford Medical School. The ongoing impact of this initiative on poverty alleviation in South Africa is particularly significant given that the country's college attendance rate is 20%.

Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation

She founded her parent organization, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, in 2010. The main goal is to participate in the fight against poverty and to support organizations that pursue humanitarian goals. Oprah personally added $36 million to this charity and stated that education is the key to equalizing economic conditions and providing opportunities for everyone.

The foundation does not accept applications for donations or grants. Instead, Oprah Winfrey selects charities and makes special donations through her private foundation, providing millions of dollars in grants to nonprofits. In terms of impact, the organization has donated $400 million, contributed to the education of 72,000 people, and served 75 million meals.

Other charitable and special projects of Oprah Winfrey

It is thanks to these foundations that Oprah was able to extend her charitable hand around the world. Oprah Winfrey's charities support a variety of organizations, mostly focused on African Americans and the poor. Here are some other charities she has contributed to and supports through her foundations.

Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

"O Ambassadors"

This organization operated as part of a school program that aimed to encourage children to give and act on behalf of their peers in underdeveloped countries.

U.S. Dream Academy

The American Dream Academy is a national after-school program aimed at working with children who have a parent in prison. The goal is to break the cycle of incarceration. In 2006, Oprah donated almost a million dollars, and according to financial reports, she is one of the academy's biggest supporters.

Personal volunteering and grant-making

In addition, Winfrey is actively engaged in personal fundraising, including auctioning off part of her car collection to raise funds. In March 2020, Oprah donated $12 million to help vulnerable people and communities most affected by COVID-19. Her contributions have helped cities and states where Oprah has lived, including Mississippi, Nashville, Chicago, and Milwaukee.

Also, as a passionate advocate for girls and women, Oprah has donated to the Time's Up campaign, which aims to create a society free of gender discrimination. Another enterprise that Oprah supports is N Street Village, a non-profit organization that provides housing and services to homeless and low-income women.

Winfrey's motto "Intention and service" reflects her commitment to charitable efforts – she actively works to improve the living conditions of the world's most vulnerable populations.

Millions for charity and a network of angels: how Oprah Winfrey turned from a poor girl into a woman who saves the world

By focusing on philanthropy, volunteering, and making a difference in the world, Oprah Winfrey has demonstrated how one person can change the world. Directing a significant portion of her income to charitable initiatives, she is an example that many can follow.

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