In 1994, a little girl named Nora appeared on The Oprah Show with her father, Ted, to talk about her Penny Harvest project. She and other children collected pennies, which added up to $1,000 to help different organizations. "I started thinking, 'If you could do that, I wonder what I could do?'" Oprah says. That question brought about an organization that would change lives around the world.
On the September 18, 1997, episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah invited viewers to join her in using their lives to improve the lives of others with her new organization...and so Oprah's Angel Network was launched!
Oprah's Angel Network started small, turning spare change into college scholarships.
All sorts of people sent in their spare change...including then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton! "We started to keep change in that when we heard about your Angel Network," she said.
The grand total, over $3.5 million, provided $25,000 college scholarships for 150 deserving students—that's three students from every state!
That same year, 1997, our viewers got out their tools and gathered coast to coast to build more than 200 beautiful new homes with Habitat for Humanity. More than 15,000 of you volunteered to build homes for families in need. Even Aerosmith's Steven Tyler got into the groove and helped fund a house in Boston.
As a result, hundreds of families found out there is "no place like home."
In 2000, the Angel Network rolled into even more neighborhoods with our Use Your Life Awards
. With the help of Paul Newman of Newman's Own, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and you, our viewers, more than 50 life-changing programs got the money they needed to help their local communities.
Then, the Angel Network went global, reaching out to children around the world. To date, your generosity has built 60 schools in 13 countries
, including India, Ecuador and China. And there are still more on the way!
In 2002, Oprah's mission was to give hope to children in South Africa through her ChristmasKindness trip
. Her dream resulted in 21 days, 50,000 children and a million moments of happiness.
Your generosity was overwhelming. More than $9 million was donated after you saw what a difference it could make to these children!
ChristmasKindness continued in 2005 when more than 900 South African children were treated to a spectacular Christmas carnival
In South Africa, your donations bought over $1 million worth of school uniforms—a precious gift to children who can't attend school without them.
Because of you, the viewers, children in more than 27 countries—including Russia, Nicaragua and Afghanistan—now have books of their own.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oprah asked you, the viewers, to open their hearts...and you did!
As of August 2007, donations to Oprah's Angel Network in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita total $15.6 million and nearly 300 homes
have been built or restored in eight communities across four states—Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
In January 2007, Oprah's Angel Network opened the doors to an innovative new primary school called Seven Fountains
in the poverty stricken community of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
When Oprah first visited, the school was in a building with no heat, limited running water and electricity, four toilets, dirt floors, no playground and broken windows. Despite these conditions, close to 1,000 eager children attended school. Now, it's a state-of-the-art centerpiece of the community!
You opened your hearts, and miracles happened. From a few pennies in a bucket more than a decade ago to a $72 million force that lifts up those who need it around the world, Oprah has one special message for all of you: "Thank you, Angels."More: