CHICAGO (CBS) — Five million dollars. That’s how much Oprah Winfrey is giving to charities in Chicago in the fight against COVID-19.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot talked with Oprah about her mission and one of the organizations that’s getting a big financial boost.
“Whenever I give, any kind of offering, kind of charitable donation, I’m looking to give it to the people who most need it.”
Former Chicago talk show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey talks about giving back to the Windy City during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ayesha Jaco’s organization West Side United is among the five Chicago organizations receiving grants from the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation.
“It was very, very exciting! Such a magical moment,” said Jaco. “Just to have Oprah as an ally in this work and fight against COVID-19. It was really a boost. Not only for my organization but all of the other partners at the table.”
West Side United, Rush University Medical Center, MAAFA Redemption Project, My Block My Hood My City and Forty Acres Fresh Market will split $5 million from Winfrey’s foundation. She explained how the groups were chosen.
“I was looking, Suzanne, for organizations that were going to have their hands, directly in the community,” Winfrey said.
The five places receiving the money fall under an umbrella called Live Healthy Chicago. West Side United provides access to jobs, education and healthcare for people of color in 10 West Side communities.
Under the partnership, West Side United and the four other organizations can now serve 20 black and brown communities on the south and west sides of the city, impacting 60,000 families because of Winfrey’s foundation grant.
When asked about getting her start in Chicago and her desire to give back to the Windy City, Winfrey said a simple statement comes to mind.
“Ah Suzanne, such a good question! I think the thing that comes to my heart is growing up with the philosophy instilled that to whom that much is given, much is expected,” she said. “The essential work, for all of us who have means, is to find a way to give back in a way that can be meaningful to other people.”
West Side United will use their share of the money for COVID-19 response efforts, contact tracing, meals for those in need and senior wellness checks. Besides Chicago, Oprah is also giving grants to organizations in her other of Nashville, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Kosciusko, Mississippi.