Oprah Winfrey: $12 Million Donation To The Smithsonian

Oprah Winfrey donated $12 Million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African History and Culture. In recognition for their largest donation, the Smithsonian plans to name the museum’s theater in Winfrey’s honor.

The $12 million donation is Winfrey’s second to the museum. She previously donated $1 million in 2007.

Construction on the $500 million complex began in 2012. Congressional funding will cover half of costs. However, the Smithsonian is counting on donations to cover the remaining $250 million needed to complete the project.

As reported by the Washington Post, Winfrey’s donation highlights her support for the preservation of African American history and culture. In a statement about the donation, Winfrey explains:

“I am so proud of African American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole … I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps … the stories of who we are will live on for generations to come.”

In addition to Oprah Winfrey’s $12 million donation, the museum has received $10 million donations from the Gates Foundation and the Lilly Endowment. Donations received from corporate, government, and private sources total more than $335 million to date.

As discussed at NMAAHC.edu, the museum is expected to open in 2015. The museum’s gallery is currently located on the second floor of the National Museum of American History.

Notable collections include the Black Fashion Museum Collection, The Ernest C. Withers Photography Collection, and the Harriet Tubman Collection. In addition to monetary donations, the museum is also accepting donations of historically significant documents, artifacts, and recorded material.

The museum’s latest and most generous donation was greatly appreciated. Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum, issued a statement including an expression of gratitude for Oprah Winfrey’s $12 million donation:

“Her gifts will forever be associated with harnessing the power of art and creative expression to build bridges between cultures and enrich people’s lives.”

Oprah Winfrey’s $12 Million donation will help the organization move one step closer to sharing and preserving African American history and culture.

[Image via Featureflash / Shutterstock.com]