Mayor Cory Booker Inspires Oprah to Donate Millions to Newark

February 6th, 2009

Oprah Donates Over $1.5M to Newark Non-Profits

BY STEPHANIE BARISH | wpix.com

NEWARK, N.J. (WPIX) – The queen of talk apparently loves the Garden State at least 1.5 million ways.

As part of a nationwide gift-giving campaign, Oprah Winfrey's foundation is donating over $1.5 million to several non-profit schools and organizations based in Newark.

The grants will go to the city's North Ward Center, St. Benedict's Preparatory School, the drug-rehabilitation center Integrity House, a shelter for women and children called Apostle House, and the community organization Newark Now, founded by Mayor Cory Booker.

In fact, Booker, who is known to have a friendly relationship with Ms. O's best friend Gayle King, is being credited for putting the city back on track.

“He's been working for ages to have people interested in Newark and one of the people he has been talking to is Oprah,” said Rev. Edwin Leahy, the headmaster of St. Benedict's.

Booker expressed his gratitude to the TV icon in a written statement.

“Her gifts will directly empower hundreds and hundreds of Newark families and help source our city's success,” Booker said. “We rejoice in Oprah's generosity and celebrate her life commitment to serving others.”

This isn't the first time Oprah has extended a helping hand to the state of New Jersey. In August, she donated $1 million to a scholarship fund for students in Whitesboro, the hometown of her long time boyfriend Stedman Graham.

Leahy said the extra money couldn't have come at a better time considering the rough economy.

'It was a surprise,” Leahy said. “It was a big surprise.”