At this point it is perhaps beyond fair to exclusively picture Oprah Winfrey smiling atop a prize winning float showering the masses with large amounts of money and gifts they couldn’t hope to pay the taxes on (You get a car! And you get a car!). But this week Winfrey promised to give black students a tax free gift when she pledged over one million dollars to help send students to HBCUs.
“I believe in the power of education,” Winfrey said at an event hosted by the United Negro College Fund in Charlotte, North Carolina. “There is nothing better than to open the door for someone.”
As you can imagine, Winfrey balls out even when she’s giving the money away. At the aforementioned event, the United Negro College Fund set a goal to raise around one million. After meeting that goal ahead of Winfrey’s speech, she elected to match the existing contributions and bring the event’s grand total to almost two and a half million dollars. As she noted in her keynote speech, “We do want to make this the world record-breaking event.”
Winfrey’s donation is just one of a few in what has been a huge year for HBCU funding in the public. Just this year, philanthropist and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partner, Robert F. Smith promised to pay off all of the loan debt for students graduating from Morehouse College this Spring. Winfrey herself is no stranger to HBCU’s either, the mogul is actually a graduate of one of the nation’s oldest HBCU, Tennessee State University.