"Philanthropist Earl Stafford is using $1.6 million of his own money to throw an inaugural ball for people who might never have the chance to be a part of the presidential celebration," Oprah says.
Earl says he was inspired in March 2008 to help people who are underserved and underprivileged. "We formed a coalition with other organizations and asked them to identify individuals who fit into the homeless or disadvantaged category and to bring them in," Earl says. "We wanted a cross section of ages. We have Tuskegee airmen. We have Mama Tucker coming, who is 106 years old. And we have young children that are coming."
Thanks to help from organizations like the National Urban League and the Boys & Girls Clubs, transportation for all the invitees will be covered. "We've teamed up with 35 different organizations," Earl says.
Earl says his wife and daughter wanted to make the event an elegant affair, so they asked people to donate tuxedos and gowns. "We've received over 525 gowns," he says. "We set up a boutique at the hotel that these individuals will go into. They'll select the gowns. ... We are going to have people with means entertaining and partying with people who don't have means."