Oprah Winfrey Donates $2.5 Million to U.S. Dream Academy

Oprah Winfrey surprised Silver Spring-based nonprofit U.S. Dream Academy with a $2.5 million donation pledge at its 25th anniversary celebration on Monday.

400 supporters attended the annual “Power of a Dream” gala at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. on Monday (video below). The U.S. Dream Academy surpassed its fundraising goal of $3.5 million to continue its programs and outreach to empower children (DreamKids) whose parents are incarcerated.

During a video message, Winfrey praised the team and Dr. Wintley Phipps’ leadership, pledging a donation of $2.5 million. Winfrey has donated over $10 million to support the mission of the U.S. Dream Academy over the past two decades.

“Education is one of the forces that helped me be who I am in the world today. I’m a believer in helping children be the best that they can be, as this Academy has done for a quarter of a century,” Winfrey said in the surprise video message.

“The U.S. Dream Academy is so blessed to consider Oprah Winfrey as our biggest champion and supporter over the course of these 25 years,” U.S. Dream Academy Founder and CEO Dr. Wintley Phipps said in a press release. “Words cannot express our deep gratitude to Oprah as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. This donation will be life-changing to so many more kids who will benefit from our afterschool and mentoring programs. We are grateful to Oprah, our corporate sponsors, and the many individual donors who helped us exceed our goal!”

There were other highlights and special guests at the 25th anniversary gala, including:

  • Alumni Keynote Speaker: Withney Simon, U.S. Dream Academy Alum, Entrepreneur, and Head Image Consultant at Connaisseur Paris;
  • Entertainment: Jennifer Holliday, GRAMMY and TONY Award-winning Broadway Actress, Recording Artist and Gospel Singer;
  • Special video message from Maryland Governor Wes Moore, a long-time supporter of US Dream Academy;
  • Special Performances & Appearances: Wintley Phipps, GRAMMY-nominated Gospel Singer, and Founder and CEO of the U.S. Dream Academy with a special collaboration by award-winning Takoma Academy Chorale and DC DreamKids.

Daniel Guerrero, a mentor at the U.S. Dream Academy Learning Center in Salt Lake City, has been named Mentor of the Year for 2023.

Daniel, who has been a mentor since March of 2022, grew up in a single-parent household with three other siblings. At a young age, he said he “wasn’t on the right path” in Mexico. There is no doubt in his mind that if he had stayed longer, the trajectory of his life would have been very different. By comparing his own experiences with DreamKids, Daniel understands the importance of creating a program that impacts kids positively.

“On behalf of the U.S. Dream Academy, we were pleased to award $10,000 at the gala to three students as well as receive a commitment for $32,500 per year in scholarships from Washington Adventist University for DreamKids who attend their college,” said Diane Wallace Booker, Founding Executive Director of U.S. Dream Academy. “These scholarships paired with Oprah Winfrey’s surprise gift announcement really made our 25th anniversary celebration very special.”

With the annual Power of a Dream Gala, more than $20 million has been raised to support the provision of high-quality after-school programs for children living in high-risk areas.

Photo: U.S. Dream Academy / YouTube

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