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List of Generous Stars Shows Oprah Makes Biggest Give

Oprah spent $50.2 million for education, health care, and women and children advocacy last year, topping The Giving Back Fund's list of celebrity donors.

Oprah has not one, but two foundations to help her share her estimated net worth of $1 billion — Oprah's Angel Network and The Oprah Winfrey Foundation.

She topped a few other lists this year, too. Oprah came in as the highest paid person on TV, and No. 1 on Forbes Most Powerful List. It's refreshing to see that the most powerful person is also the most generous star!

To see the top four runners-up,


  • No. 2 Herb Alpert The trumpeter and A&M records co-founder gave $13 million to education.
  • No. 3 Barbra Streisand: She gave $11 million to the environment, women's issues, civil rights, and AIDS research.
  • No. 4 Paul Newman: He gave $10 million to the Scholarship for Kenyon College, his alma mater.
  • No. 5 Mel Gibson: He gave $9.9 million to his church, the Holy Family Church.
  • Source

Join The Conversation
ediann ediann 8 years
I just totally agree her charity is all well and good but it is part of her act. Its like an info commercial! Pluslast few years I feel like she has become racist. I did not say it as well as you but I totally agree she gives for show.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i like to think that celebs give the money since they feel that they can impact causes and lead others to donate when they can, but i'm not always sure that it's their motivation when they donate. with people like Oprah, i think that she really does care since she came from a place that she didn't have anything like what she has now - and she's doing what she can to help others. the celebs on the list from forbes - those are all well established people who give for a good reason i think - but the younger hollywood types - i'm not sure what their motivation is. it's reassuring to see that oprah is spreading it around to several different places and i think that if you don't have the $$ to give, if you give of yourself - then that's a good thing too.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Pop, I wouldn't conclude that all liberals felt that way either. But certainly there are others who feel the way Torg does. It's just a perspective I never understood until now.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Bill Gates has an interesting donation record that I found online. His recent donations were to Obama, but he's donated to Republicans as well. btw Mich, I wouldn't say that you now understand a new aspect of liberals just from talking to Torg. Not that I agree or disagree with what she said, just that I wouldn't necessarily conclude that liberals think a certain way just because one particular one happens to. And UnDave, Buffet and Gates aren't on this list because they're not "celebrities". This list was specific for celebs!!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
(I cant tell anyone apart anymore) I dont like Oprah, I used too, she was always to me a breath of fresh air in a genre that was tainted by freak shows, fights and useless information. UNTILL the day she started the Oprah book club, followed by the "make the connection" BS with Bob Greene....than it became a forum for "the gospel according to oprah" and now its "the oprah/obama show"
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Is being pro cancer as bad as being pro Russia? ;)
sw33tlovin sw33tlovin 8 years
i love her :) she's amazing.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Yes, generally. There's a reason I haven't learned how to use that damn eye roll. But other than that, I really don't see how the conversation was too different from usual.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
oh, I know but we were headed in that direction for a second which made me sad because I think you (and I) generally maintain a higher level of discourse.
vasanta vasanta 8 years
Oprah can be annoying sometimes, whatever, but 50 million, that is something else. That deserves respect.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Now I never said you were pro-cancer, and I wouldn't say something like that.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I'm glad we were able to take a step back towards ideological differences and away from being pro cancer and eye rolling.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I mean, I could argue with you that the private sector is far better at providing and utilizing charity than the government, but I'm not sure that would get us too far.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
But like I said, your counter to my perfect world scenario really did teach me something new about a liberals ideals. So that's cool, I guess.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I personally think that there are lots of people who want to do the right thing. Even more people who will actually do it if they don't feel like somebody else will do it for them. Obviously there's just a fundamental difference in philosophy on this one, Torg.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I get why conservatives trust the market on some things. I get why, for example, they might oppose taxes on cigarettes or tax credits for hybrid cars. If they are dangerous or if they are beneficial, the demand should provide the appropriate incentives for their production; no need to dictate how people spend their money. I just don't think the same principles apply in the same way to charitable giving.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Well, that sounds a little extreme Torg, but I'm just glad there's people like us who are so sympathetic that we are able to make decisions more fairly than regular people who make money.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Torg, you honestly just opened my eyes to something. I always thought that liberals held their beliefs because they thought that people couldn't be trusted to do the right thing on their own. But now I understand that liberals just like the idea of government oversight. That's something I never understood until today.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Obviously, money to cure cancer is a good thing. My point is that the well publicized, more sympathetic causes might draw money away from people in a more rare set of circumstances or who have a less sympathetic plight. Perhaps more large, private, umbrella foundations would emerge and would see that things were distributed evenly. But I don't trust the free market to provide a safety net for all of those who have true and legitimate need. It's like what happens with blood donations during disasters. People rush out to donate, but during more calm and peaceful times, donations drop, so the random person in a car wreck is less likely to get she she needs than the person injured during a huge natural disaster because a random car accident doesn't evoke the same public reaction. (Organic, let me guess, you agree! The government should come around monthly to collect blood and organs from all of us and redistribute it as needed, right?)
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Torg, it was sort of an idealized statement, obviously. If most people worked harder, maybe they'd have some money to give to those who truly can't work hard, or just can't make ends meet. As far as complaining about causes being overfunded, I just can't understand that. You can't over-fund cancer research unless there's already a cure. Certainly not everybody wants to help meth addicts, but there are people who do care about those causes, and are already donating. You're donating to them, aren't you? Or do you not care about them? Maybe you're right, maybe we need the government to decide who is needy, what they're needy of, and who should be giving money to them. If I knew how to do the eyeroll emoticon, I'd be doing it here. I was explaining my perfect society. Those who can work hard do so, and willingly give the excess to those who are in need. You counter with your perfect society in which... the government is still taking what people earn and doling it back out to whomever they decide needs it?
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
"The other thing is that "trendy" causes would end up overfunded. Lots of people want to give money to cancer research" Yeah, too much money would go to curing cancer.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>If all people, liberal and conservative alike, worked hard and donated lots of money to needy people, then maybe liberals wouldn't feel like the government needed to step in and do it for us. But if all people had money available to donate, would anyone need donations from anyone else? The other thing is that "trendy" causes would end up overfunded. Lots of people want to give money to cancer research (it's not even October and there's already pink breast cancer stuff eeeverywhere). Helping meth addicts go back to rehab or buying shampoo and deodorant for laid off workers is less of an appealing cause. And regarding Oprah only giving away $50 million, this just reminds me of people ragging on Al Gore for his electric bill. Instead of complaining about Oprah, why aren't we turning our nose up at those who aren't giving anything away?
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Yeah, that's a nice fantasy Michelin. Everyone knows liberals refuse to donate as much time or money as conservatives though. So good luck getting us to donate anything that's not strong armed by the government. My greatest fear is that I'll accidently give more than everybody else has to, especially rich people.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
UnDave, I think that's the model of what any person should be. If all people, liberal and conservative alike, worked hard and donated lots of money to needy people, then maybe liberals wouldn't feel like the government needed to step in and do it for us.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Yeah, I knew what you meant. I saw Bill Gates and his wife on some talk program, and they were talking about their goals. They have a goal to die broke, because they've donated all their money to charities. I don't know if they are conservative, but to me they are the model of what a conservative should be. Work hard, make a lot of money, and give to the charities you feel the most strongly about.
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