Oprah’s charities now worth more than $200 million!

With all the talk about the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa this week, it’s kind of amazing to realize what her charities are now worth. It’s an astounding amount of money, with some interesting trivia, too.

According to GuideStar.org and federal tax filings, Winfrey runs three different charities: The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation.

The Angel Network, of course, is heavily promoted on Winfrey’s show for fans to help raise money for worthy causes. In 2005, the Angel Network distributed more than $4 million to 40 organizations with a lot of emphasis on Africa, Winfrey’s chief interest.  They also sent $2 million to disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Angel Network claimed $15 million in net assets in 2004-2005.

Oprah’s Operating Foundation, with $19 million in assets, is set up just for the recently opened Leadership Academy in South Africa.

But the real meat and potatoes of Oprah’s giving comes from her personal foundation. According to its most recent filing, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation has total assets of a whopping $172 million. Just last year, Winfrey parked some $36 million of her own money in the Foundation, which in turn distributed $8 million to numerous educational, arts and medical groups.

When you compare her charitable activity to Donald Trump, ($750,000 a year), or to the empty promises of “charity singles” that come from Michael Jackson, Winfrey’s work is unparalleled and unprecedented. She’s put about $5 million into a Boys and Girls club in her Mississippi hometown, for example, and last year another $500,000 went to the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation.

And for all our sakes, let’s hope Winfrey lives a long time. According to an amendment in her 2004 filing, Oprah is the sole member of the Foundation and is the only who has grant approval for those millions and millions of dollars. But enjoy it while you can, charities, because a new line reads: “After the death of Oprah G. Winfrey, the Foundation shall have no members.”

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