Oprah Donates $12 Million (More) to Smithsonian’s African American Museum
Oprah Winfrey (FilmMagic)
The lifestyle guru is donating a whopping $12 million to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture — a gift that dwarfs her 2007 donation of $1 million, by … a lot.
Combined, these two donations mark the museum's largest gift to date and solidify Oprah as one of the country's most prominent philanthropists. In recognition of her generosity, Oprah's name will go on a 350-seat theater in the museum.
In addition to her significant monetary support, Winfrey has served as an adviser to the museum for nearly a decade and seems wholly devoted to its cause.
"I am so proud of African American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole. I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps," Winfrey said in a statement.
"By investing in this museum, I want to help ensure that we both honor and preserve our culture and history, so that the stories of who we are will live on for generations to come."
Ground was first broken on the five-acre site, which nabbed some prime real estate right next to the Washington Monument, back in February 2012, and its doors are expected to open in 2015 — which means Oprah still has some time to promote this passion project to the public.
"Part of getting a museum built is … helping all people see how important it is," the museum's founding director, Lonnie G. Bunch, stated. "Oprah Winfrey is someone so many people in America admire, and I think this is an important moment to the museum." In other words, the museum is grateful to Oprah for more than her money.
Still, she did give $13 million.
Reflecting on this latest gift, Bunch mused, "Every donation, whether $25 or a $10 million corporate donation, is important. But truly, there's only one Oprah Winfrey."
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