Oprah Winfrey stunned attendees at a North Carolina fundraising event when she announced her huge donation to help minority students succeed in college.
Oprah visited Charlotte, North Carolina, to speak at the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon. The event drew a crowd of 1,120 people, mostly women, to the uptown Westin Hotel.
The United Negro College Fund was hoping that the event would raise $1 million to further support scholarships for deserving North Carolina students to attend historically black colleges and universities. Since it began, the UNCF has helped more than 450,000 students attend colleges, online and on campus.
After giving the crowd a half hour speech on leadership, Oprah asked just how much had been raised so far by the event. A running tally that was being shown on huge video screens showed that they had already exceeded their goal and had raised $1.15 million.
“We do want to make this the world record-breaking event,” Oprah told the fundraiser attendees just before she made her big announcement.
Oprah announced she was going to match the amount raised. That brought the total to $2.3 million. Audience members were shocked by the amazing news, which brought everyone to their feet for a standing ovation.
UNCF officials tweeted the news later that afternoon, accompanied by a video of Oprah on stage, calling her matching donation “awesomeness.”
During her speech, Oprah told the crowd that she believes “in the power of education,” and added, “There is nothing better than to open the door for someone.”
This is certainly not the first time that Oprah has shown her commitment to helping others in their education.
She founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which officially opened back in 2007. The academy works to foster the leadership and growth of young women, many of whom have gone on to attend colleges and universities across the globe after graduating.
As noted by The Charlotte Observer, three of those Leadership Academy graduates have gone on to graduate from Johnson C. Smith University, a historically black university in Charlotte.