On Saturday (Sept. 28), Oprah Winfrey left a ballroom of students and faculty smiling ear to ear with her latest monetary gesture. The media mogul donated $1.15 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), The Charlotte Observer reports.
During the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina (which honors women making strides in their communities), Winfrey stressed the importance of education and how scholarships like UNCF provides can broaden someone’s higher education pursuits. “I believe in the power of education,” she said. “There is nothing better than to open the door for someone.” UNCF raised $2.3 million in scholarship funds after Winfrey matched its initial $1.15 million that afternoon. The scholarships aid students within the area with hopes of attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Winfrey will return to Charlotte in January 2020 to promote “Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus” health and wellness tour.
Boom! The awesomeness that is @oprah just matched the $1million dollars that was raised during the #UNCFCharlotte Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon. Yes, so now over $2million was raised to support #HBCUs this afternoon! Peep this👇🏾#UNCF #blackgirlmagic ❤️🙏🏿 @ Oprah pic.twitter.com/lYeceynhFC
— UNCF (@UNCF) September 28, 2019
Winfrey’s gesture arrives weeks after billionaire Robert F. Smith decided to extend his Morehouse College-debt plan to include parents’ loans. The businessman initially revealed he would cover the loans of Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class but later opened it up to the graduates’ guardians as well. Entering society or the workforce loan-free is a subject Smith and others plan to study to see what doors financial freedom will open for young adults.
In a report published by Forbes, the student-debt crisis has reached $1.5 trillion. The figure has been a subject of observation by presidential candidates, specifically Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who proposed legislation to drastically lower that number. “The student debt crisis is real and it’s crushing millions of people—especially people of color,” Warren said per Forbes. “It’s time to decide: Are we going to be a country that only helps the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, or are we going to be a country that invests in its future?”