Oprah Winfrey is no stranger to a philanthropic deed or two, in fact, her $12m donation to Smithsonian brings her total donation to $13m – the highest single source for a donation the museum has ever received.

“I am so proud of African American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole,” Winfrey said in a statement, explaining the reasoning behind her huge donation. “I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps. By investing in this museum, I want to help ensure that we both honor and preserve our culture and history, so that the stories of who we are will live on for generations to come.” In 2004, Winfrey became the first black person to rank among the 50 most generous Americans, and by 2012, the talk show host-cum-media mogul had donated over $400m to educational causes. The recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award also handed out over 400 scholarships to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s not just charitable causes that benefit from her generosity, either; she took her whole staff on holiday in 2006 after to celebrate 20 years of being on TV.

“Every donation, whether $25 or a $10 million corporate donation, is important. But truly, there’s only one Oprah Winfrey,” said the museum’s founding director, Lonnie G. Bunch, lauding Oprah’s contribution. “In essence, she’s put her imprimatur on it. Part of getting a museum built is tied to visibility helping all people see how important it is. Oprah Winfrey is someone so many people in America admire, and I think this is an important moment to the museum."

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey poses for the cameras

Oprah Winfrey
Influencial - Winfrey is a role model for many