Oprah Winfrey is one of nine philanthropists to give more than $1 million toward construction of the Obama Presidential Center, officials said.
She was joined by one of the wealthiest families from Boston and a foundation representing one of the country’s most prominent African-American billionaires in giving the largest new financial gifts to the Obama Foundation in the second quarter of the year.
The foundation updated its list of donors Monday afternoon with those who gave money between April and June of this year. The list shows donors by a monetary range, but the foundation will not disclose how much each individual donor gave.
This announcement of Winfrey as a major donor comes just a month after an exhibit honoring her legacy opened at the new National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C. She donated more than $20 million to the museum and was its largest contributor before it opened in 2016.
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But this was her first gift to the Obama Foundation, records show.
During the first quarter of this year, the Obama Foundation relied mainly on repeat donors. But this quarter, it listed nearly two dozen donors who opened their wallets and had never given money to the organization before.
For a time, Amos Hostetter and his wife, Barbara, were counted as one of the wealthiest families in Boston. Amos Hostetter is a Harvard Business School graduate who in Boston became known for protecting the waterfront from zealous development.
Reginald F. Lewis was a Harvard Law School alum who became one of the nation’s richest businessmen. In 1987, his firm was the largest company in the country to be run by an African-American. After he died in 1993, the foundation carrying his name continues his philanthropic work supporting the arts and education.
Both Hostetter and the Lewis Foundation are listed among the newest, large-scale donors. Hostetter and Lewis both attended Harvard, where Barack Obama was editor of the law review, but during different eras.
In addition, Amy and Joshua Boger, The California Endowment, the Fidelity Charitable Fund, The Parker Foundation, the John & Jacolyn Bucksbaum Family Foundation and Barbara Schmidt are listed as having recently given more than $1 million each.
Besides their nine new donors, there were 11 more who repeated hefty gifts of $1 million or more to the foundation. Among the repeat donors was Mel Heifetz, a real estate investor who supports gay rights; and Victoria and John Rogers, the Chicago investor and his daughter who is known for her work collecting, promoting and supporting the arts through philanthropic ventures. John Rogers is the founder of Ariel Investments and sits on the board of the Obama Foundation.
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There were four new donors who gave between $100,001 to $250,000 to the foundation in the second quarter. But the number of donors who gave more than $250,000 and less than $1 million remained the same.
The largest group of donors are people who have given less than $10,000 each.
Nearly two months ago, the Obama Foundation received overwhelming approval from the Chicago City Council to construct the presidential center in Jackson Park. The campus will cost more than $500 million to build, and all of the funding is expected to come from private donations.
Some of the donations pay for the foundation’s programming and events.
The foundation is expected to break ground on the center later this year.