The Oprah Winfrey Charitible Foundation Announces $12 Million Covid-19 Relief Grant Recipients

Funds Support Underserved Communities in Oprah’s “Home Cities” of Nashville, Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Kosciusko, Mississippi

Los Angeles, CA – The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation announced today the newest grant recipients of Oprah Winfrey’s $12 million COVID-19 Relief Fund. The $12 million in grants support organizations in Oprah’s “home cities” of Nashville, Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Kosciusko, Mississippi that are helping underserved communities currently experiencing a disproportionate impact from the pandemic. Winfrey previously announced she was giving $10 million to help those affected by the pandemic and has committed an additional $2 million in support, bringing the total figure to date to $12 million. 

“I’m proud to be able to support the communities I have called home,” said Winfrey. “These organizations are working tirelessly on the ground to help those hit the hardest by the pandemic, meeting people where they are and serving in ways needed most.”  

The funds will support:

Live Healthy Chicago, an initiative to provide thousands of families in predominately African-American and Latinx communities, known to face an elevated risk of severe symptoms, immediate support in the form of wellness visits, contact tracing and care packages. Live Healthy Chicago helps to build the capacity of organizations that are on the front lines in the fight against this pandemic. It also invests in the long term recovery of these communities. Ms. Winfrey reached out to community organizations to best support Chicago, and in response, helped institute a collaboration between West Side United, Rush University Medical Center, the MAAFA Redemption Project, My Block My Hood My City and Forty Acres Fresh Market. Live Healthy Chicago’s efforts complement the work done by City of Chicago’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, which West Side United helped convene in April 2020 at the request of Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

NashvilleNurtures, a collaboration between Mount Zion Baptist Church and Tennessee State University, Ms. Winfrey’s alma mater, providing immediate food relief to over 10,000 families in the greater Nashville area. A full list of the Nashville Pastors Coalition that Winfrey held an initial call with regarding how to best support the community, and all organizations involved in this partnership, can be found at www.nashvillenurtures.com

SaintA which provides telehealth mental health services to Milwaukee residents, particularly the African-American community hit hardest by COVID-19. SaintA is outfitting up to 150 students, adults, and families, who would not otherwise be able to access quality mental health care, with telehealth devices and internet access for a year. 

The Nia Imani Family, Inc. in Milwaukee which provides housing for young, pregnant or first-time mothers, many of whom are recovering from homelessness, violence, and traumatic life experiences. 

The Boys and Girls Club of Kosciusko, Mississippi which established a drive-thru food pantry to provide daily food support for over 1,500 children in East Mississippi. 

Living Classrooms Foundationa non-profit in Baltimore that disrupts the cycle of poverty and helps the community become safer, stronger, and healthier by meeting individuals where they are and building skills for life. Living Classrooms inspires children, youth, and adults to achieve their potential through hands-on education, workforce development, health and wellness, and violence prevention programming.

Center for Urban Families, a Baltimore organization that addresses some of the city’s most pressing issues including poverty, unemployment, father-absence, and family disintegration. Through addressing the key challenges of Baltimore’s urban families by working to connect fathers to their children, creating opportunities for economic and financial security through work, and providing access to other key interventions and supportive services, CFUF has served over 29,000 vulnerable Baltimoreans, providing the bridge that many have needed to attain stability and serves more than 1,400 men and women a year.

Comments from the organizations: 

“The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation’s investment in Live Healthy Chicago accelerates our work to not just fight this virus, but to address the underlying reasons it is taking so many black and brown lives,” said Ayesha Jaco, Executive Director, West Side United.  ​

“We express our sincerest thanks to Ms. Winfrey for her generosity and caring for her home city of Nashville in this manner, and for including TSU to be a part of this monumental humanitarian effort,” said Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, President of Tennessee State University. “We are honored to be able to help support Nashville and to ensure that families have the food and basic necessities they need during this difficult time.

“We are so grateful to Oprah Winfrey and her Foundation for helping us begin to significantly mitigate food insecurity in Nashville during a time of pandemic and natural disasters,” said Bishop Joseph Warren Walker III of Mount Zion Baptist Church. “The neediest Nashvillians are hurting right now, and, with Ms. Winfrey’s support, we are able to let them know their community cares about them.”  

“African-American families and those who have financial instability in these COVID-19 times are more at risk of lacking the technology to engage in telehealth.  This generous grant allows us to close the digital divide and be a healing bridge,” says Ann Leinfelder Grove, President and CEO of SaintA.

“The young mothers we serve are the most vulnerable in the Milwaukee community and this grant will allow us to help give them the resources and support they need,” says Belinda Pittman-McGee, Founder and Executive Director of Nia Imani Family, Inc.  

“We are grateful for the continued support from Oprah Winfrey to our community over the past decade, and for her commitment to ensure our young people who relied on school meals do not face food insecurity during this current crisis,” said Ricky Hood, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi-Oprah Winfrey Unit. 

Additional recipients of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund include: 

  • America’s Food Fund – including donations to the sweetgreen Impact Outpost Fund, Second Harvest of Nashville, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano, Texas 
  • Direct Relief in partnership with the Sean Combs Dance-A-Thon  
  • New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • The MAAFA Redemption Project in Chicago, Illinois
  • Global Citizen
  • Unity Shoppe, Inc. in Santa Barbara, California

ABOUT THE OPRAH WINFREY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Guided by Oprah Winfrey and her intention to serve those in need, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) supports organizations around the world. Since 1993, OWCF has contributed millions in grants and donations to organizations that serve children, families, and communities, with a specific focus on youth education.

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