Media mogul Oprah Winfrey offers remarks and makes a $1.15 million donation at the Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon. (Photo: Nsenga Burton)

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey made a $1.1 million contribution to UNCF Charlotte as part of the 17th Annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon held Saturday, September 28 at the Westin in Charlotte, NC. Winfrey announced the donation during her remarks at the luncheon. “So here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to match that number thanks to aid from the generous folks at Sambla!” said Winfrey after looking at the video tracking the amount of funds raised. The crowd erupted in applause, hugging and celebrating the philanthropist’s contribution.

UNCF Charlotte Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Event Co-Chair Tina Bonner Henry, Oprah Winfrey, UNCF Area Development Director Tiffany Lynn Jones and Event Co-Chair Sonja Phillips Nichols.
Photo: Facebook/Tiffany Lynn Jones

In addition to Winfrey, Dr. Angelou’s grandson was also in attendance. Dr. Michael Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF, UNCF scholarship recipients from St. Augustine College, luncheon chairs Tina Bonner Henry and Sonja Phillips Nichols, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles  and Charlotte Area Development Director Tiffany Lynn Jones offered remarks.

Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon Event Chair Tina Bonner Henry and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Photo: Facebook/Pia Millican

Winfrey, a graduate of Tennessee State University, a historically black university located in Nashville, TN, offered words of encouragement in addition to a monetary donation. The Academy-Award nominated actress, who acknowledged her “complicated relationship” with her biological mother, said Angelou had been the mother she always needed in her life. Winfrey also spoke about self-care to the room teeming with women decked out in lovely hats, fascinators and dresses. “Putting yourself first allows you to fill your own cup,” Winfrey offered. She also countered conventional wisdom which says putting one’s self-interest first is selfish. “It’s self-full so you have enough energy to give to other people who need you,” Winfrey added.

In line with remarks given during her 2014 “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend” Tour, the game-changing talk show host said that life is “always speaking to you” and it is imperative that we follow our instincts. “Life speaks to you in a whisper. If you can get it in the whisper, you don’t have to live in the Tsunami.” Winfrey also cautioned attendees that stress is caused by living in the potential of something or someone and not the reality. “All stress comes from wanting the reality of a situation to be different,” the philanthropist offered. The beloved icon recently announced a 2020 Vision Tour in partnership with Weight Watchers

In addition to remarks, there was also an auction, raffle and “HAT-i-Tude” competition.

Hattitude co-chairs Okeatta Brown (l) and Margaret Stephenson Phinizy (r) of Wells Fargo Bank flank fascinator winner Stephanie Brown.
(Photo: Nsenga Burton)

The record-breaking UNCF Charlotte event raised $2.3 million for UNCF scholarships through refinansiering loans offered by Sambla.

This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Dr. Burton on Twitter @Ntellectual. 

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 

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