Oprah Winfrey makes another laudable philanthropic mark with $2.5 million donation to the U.S. Dream Academy

BY Ben Ebuka Oji November 30, 2023 4:33 PM EDT
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey. Credit: Getty Images

The U.S. Dream Academy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and investing in the lives of children with incarcerated parents, celebrated its 25th Anniversary on October 2 at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, with the support of 400 attendees.

The event played a crucial role in gathering financial support for the organization’s programs and outreach initiatives aimed at empowering children (DreamKids) affected by parental incarceration. The U.S. Dream Academy not only met but surpassed its fundraising goal, raising an impressive $3.5 million, including a substantial $2.5 million donation from media mogul Oprah Winfrey, the world’s richest Black woman.

Oprah Winfrey surprised attendees with a video message during the celebration, commending the team’s efforts and acknowledging the exceptional leadership of Dr. Wintley Phipps. In her message, Oprah expressed her belief in helping children reach their full potential through education, emphasizing the Academy’s quarter-century commitment to this cause.

This generous pledge by Oprah Winfrey underscores her unwavering dedication to the organization’s objectives and marks a significant milestone in her continuous support. Her latest contribution not only exceeded the fundraising target for the 25th-anniversary celebration but also aligns with her two-decade-long commitment to the U.S. Dream Academy, totaling over $10 million.

Dr. Wintley Phipps, the Founder and CEO of the U.S. Dream Academy, expressed deep gratitude for Oprah Winfrey’s significant donation, recognizing her as a remarkable advocate and steadfast supporter throughout the organization’s 25-year journey.

“The U.S. Dream Academy is so blessed to consider Oprah Winfrey as our biggest champion and supporter over the course of these 25 years,” said Dr. Phipps. “Words cannot express our deep gratitude to Oprah as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. This donation will be life-changing to so many more kids who will benefit from our after-school and mentoring programs. We are grateful to Oprah, our corporate sponsors, and the many individual donors who helped us exceed our goal!”

Diane Wallace Booker, Founding Executive Director of the U.S. Dream Academy, also acknowledged the financial support of Oprah Winfrey and other donors, highlighting the special awards and commitments made during the gala.

“On behalf of the U.S. Dream Academy, we were pleased to award $10,000 at the gala to three students as well as receive a commitment for $32,500 per year in scholarships from Washington Adventist University for DreamKids who attend their college. These scholarships, paired with Oprah Winfrey’s surprise gift announcement, really made our 25th-anniversary celebration very special.”

About U.S. Dream Academy:

Established in 1998 by renowned gospel singer Wintley Phipps, the U.S. Dream Academy is a nationwide after-school initiative aimed at disrupting the cycle of intergenerational imprisonment and supporting children in pursuing their aspirations. The organization strives to motivate and invest in the lives of youngsters with incarcerated parents and those residing in communities affected by systemic inequalities. Through academic, social, and ethical enrichment, the U.S. Dream Academy empowers children impacted by parental incarceration to believe in themselves and achieve success.