Oprah Winfrey Pledges $12 Million for COVID-Relief in Five Cities

Oprah Winfrey Pledges $12 Million for COVID-Relief in Five Cities

Oprah Winfrey has announced a commitment of $12 million through the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation in support of COVID-19 relief efforts in five cities she has, at one point or another, called home, the Associated Press reports. 

Winfrey's COVID-19 Relief Fund will support organizations dedicated to helping underserved neighborhoods in Chicago, Nashville, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Kosciusko, Mississippi, where she was born. In Chicago, a $5 million commitment from the talk show host/media executive/philanthropist will support the launch of Live Healthy Chicago, a collaborative effort of Forty Acres Fresh Market, the MAAFA Redemption ProjectMy Block My Hood My CityRush University Medical Center, and West Side United to address the wellness of seniors and high-risk populations in communities experiencing high levels of food insecurity and COVID-related disparities. 

A $2 million grant to NashvilleNurtures, a collaboration with Mount Zion Baptist Church and Tennessee State University, Winfrey's alma mater, will help feed ten thousand families, while in Milwaukee, a $100,000 donation to SaintA and the Nia Imani Family, Inc. will support efforts to assist those in need of housing and mental health care. Winfrey also has pledged support for the Living Classrooms Foundation and  Center for Urban Families in Baltimore, as well as a grant of  $115,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi.

Launched in April, Winfrey's relief fund previously announced a grant of $1 million to America's Food Fund. Winfrey also told the AP she planned to make grants to Global CitizenNew Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, and Minnie's Food Pantry in Plano, Texas, among other organizations.

"The reason I'm talking about it is because there is going to be a need for people of means to step up," said Winfrey. "Even when the virus is gone, the devastation left by people not being able to work for months who were holding on paycheck to paycheck, who have used up their savings — people are going to be in need. So my thing is, look in your own neighborhood, in your own backyard, to see how you can serve and where your service is most essential. That is the real essential work, I think, for people of means."

(Photo credit: Rush University Medical Center)

"Oprah Winfrey Gives $12M to 'Home' Cities During Pandemic." Associated Press 05/20/2020. "https://www.rush.edu/news/press-releases/oprah-grant-fuels-covid-19-efforts." Rush University Medical Center Press Release 05/20/2020. Steven Johnson, Darcel Rockett. "Oprah Winfrey Provides $5 Million to Start COVID-19 Relief Network in ‘Home City’ of Chicago." Chicago Tribune 05/20/2020.