Oprah Winfrey gifts HBCUs with $1.15 million at United Negro College Fund event

Oprah Winfrey thegrio.com
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey surprised attendees at a Charlotte fundraiser by announcing that she would match the $1.15 million it had already raised.

During the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon, when the billionaire media executive got up to speak, she asked how much money the fundraiser had brought in.

READ MORE: Oprah Winfrey launching wellness arena tour in early 2020

“We do want to make this the world record-breaking event,” Winfrey told the crowd of 1,120 people. “I believe in the power of education, there is nothing better than to open the door for someone.”

The annual event was held to raise funds for deserving college students at HBCUs to bolster their success rates, The Charlotte Observer reports.

The United Negro College event’s fundraising goal was to raise $1.15 when Winfrey blessed them with a matching gift totaling 2.3 million.

“Oprah Winfrey inspires us to live a purposeful life,” said Tiffany Jones, area development director for the UNCF.

Winfrey was close friends with Angelou, who diedin 2014. She shared with the audience the importance of leaving an indelible legacy.

“‘You have no idea what your legacy is going to be, because your legacy will be every life you touch,’” Winfrey said Angelou told her. “Your legacy is how you treat everybody.”

READ MORE: Oprah says Ta-Nehisi Coates new book moved her like ‘Beloved’ did

“Listen to the whisperer,” she continues. “Your job is to figure out the pattern of your life, the flow.”

But she joked, “Some need bricks.”