Oprah Winfrey stuns audiences by matching $1.15 million donation for North Carolina minority college students
Winfrey's generous gesture came while speaking at the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead luncheon as the United Negro College Fund sought to raise $1.15 million
Oprah Winfrey announced to a predominantly-female audience in Charlotte on Saturday that she would donate $1.15 million in a bid to help minority students get through college. Winfrey stunned the crowd while speaking at the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon as the United Negro College Fund sought to raise $1 million for North Carolina students, CNN reports.
Winfrey acknowledged their success as the video screen showed that $1.15 million had been raised thus far.
"So here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to match that number!" she said following the display, setting off screams of joy as the audience cheered her on.
Winfrey's donation vastly exceeded the organization's fundraising goals as the total instantly doubled to $2.3 million.
"I'm also here today because I believe in the power of education. There is nothing better than to open the door of opportunity for someone," she said during her keynote address, per WSOC-TV.
The renowned talk show host has previously campaigned for children's rights and education on multiple occasions. In 2007, she founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in an effort to foster the leadership and growth of young women over there. The Academy has since produced graduates who went on to attend top-notch colleges and universities across the globe. In fact, three women from the academy have graduated from Johnson C. Smith University, an HBCU in Charlotte.
According to News One, such charitable contributions are welcome as research indicates that HBCU students are suffering the most from student loan debt. The lack of financial resources, per the United Negro College Fund, causes HBCU students to take student loans at higher rates and this, in turn, leads to higher debt as compared to their peers.
A study undertaken by the organization found one in four HBCU student had borrowed at least $40,000 to attend college.