Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has been in the news many times for her monumental philanthropic endeavors, most notably the all-girls school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, she opened in Johannesburg, South Africa, back in 2004. In 1998, she created Oprah’s Angel Network, a charity that raised more than $80,000,000, and in 2005, she donated $10,000,000 of her own money to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Now, she is being rewarded for her humanitarian acts.
Winfrey is one of President Barack Obama’s 16 picks for the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. It is the highest honor given to a civilian in the United States.
Established in 1963, the Freedom award honors individuals who have contributed to the national and cultural interests of the U.S.
Winfrey is credited with becoming a household name through her book club and her hugely successful, long-time ABC talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her ability to resonate with her audience is seen as historic in the often-fickle, daytime television arena. The show ended in 2011 at which time she launched her own cable television network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Among other honorees this year are Ernie Banks, known for his record of hitting 500 home runs for the Chicago Cubs; civil and gay rights activist and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin; and C.T. Vivian, noted civil rights leader and minister.