Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments

Oprah Winfrey's list of greatest accomplishments continues to grow. Oprah Winfrey's career has spanned a wide variety of industries

She has had a turn in being an actress, talk show host, producer, and philanthropist. She is most well known for the Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah's Book Club, and her philanthropic work throughout the world. She is now the Chairwoman and CEO of both Harpo Productions and The Oprah Winfrey Network. 

She has co-authored five books, and has started The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a school designed to educate and develop the leadership skills of young women in South Africa.

And as if that's not enough, Winfrey has been featured in TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people on an impressive 10 occasions.

Some have deemed Oprah the most influential woman in the world. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, as well as an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is one of few black billionaires in North America.

The Oprah Winfrey Show aired its first episode on September 8, 1986. The show ran for 25 seasons over a span of 25 years and included 4,562 episodes. The show was an educational platform that featured books clubs, self-improvement segments and philanthropic forays.
Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments
Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments
The show, though it ended in 2011, is still one of the longest-running daytime TV talks shows in history and has received 46 Daytime Emmy Awards before Winfrey stopped putting the show for consideration in 2000. She brought on celebrities for interviews, talked about her very own book club, and even gave away items to her audience that she personally chose in a segment called “Oprah’s Favorite Things”. This was including, but not limited to houses, cars, and electronics.


Oprah Winfrey adapted What I Know For Sure from her column in O, The Oprah Magazine. The idea for the column-turned-book arose when film critic Gene Siskel asked her, “What do you know for sure?”. Winfrey quickly adopted this question as her phrase for taking stock of life. The book is packed with insight and revelation about joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power in essay form. 
Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments
Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments
In October of 2014, the book took the top spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list and never sank lower than number 3 for six months. In addition to this book, she has co-authored several other books including a cookbook, a health book and an autobiography.

Initiating the National Child Protection Act

The National Child Protection Act became informally known as "the Oprah Bill" due to Oprah's vocal support of the legislation. The act was passed in 1993, and its purpose is to encourage states to improve the quality of their criminal history and child abuse records. It required states to index criminals and required organizations that serve youth, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities to request a nationwide criminal history background check on prospective employees and volunteers. Oprah initiated the act, issuing an urgent call to her viewers to support it.

Charities and Foundations

Oprah Winfrey is known for being a philanthropist. She often donates much of her own money to many charities and foundations, but aside from giving money to outside organizations, she also has her own that she runs and donates to. The Angel Network is focused on getting many people involved in its cause. The Network collects millions of dollars in donations and provides grants that concentrate on Winfrey’s charitable initiatives.

The Oprah Winfrey Foundation is run by Oprah Winfrey herself. It provides grants to not-for-profit organizations, which is funded by Winfrey’s own money. The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation is focused solely on gathering funds for the operation of the Leadership Academy for Girls. It is reported that in total, Winfrey supports 23 charities and foundations, including her own.

Net Worth

Winfrey’s work as an actress, director, producer, entrepreneur, TV personality, and philanthropist has landed her with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion. This self made billionaire is the second richest African-American. In rankings from Forbes, she comes in on the Forbes 400 at #211 on the list of the wealthiest people. On Forbes list of America’s Self Made Women, she Comes in at #5.

Oprah's Book Club

Oprah's Book Club was a book discussion section of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The books were all chosen by Oprah herself and were selected each month for viewers to read and discuss. The book club was started in 1996, and ended in 2011 along with the show. The club recommended 70 books during the 15 years that it ran. Many obscure titles have become bestsellers due to the club's recommendation. This rise in sales has become known as the Oprah effect. Oprah's Book Club 2.0 began in 2012 as a joint venture between The Oprah Winfrey Network and O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. The book club was part of a comedy skit by Jimmy Kimmel titled "Book Club Fight Club.”

Leadership Academy for Girls

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is a girls-only boarding school south of Johannesburg, South Africa. Winfrey founded the academy to provide educational and leadership opportunities for academically gifted girls coming from impoverished backgrounds. The school was opened in 2007 and every student in the first graduating class of 72 students earned full college scholarships. The school has continued to maintain a 100% graduation rate, with a large percentage of these girls going on to college, many of them in the United States

Honors and Awards

Oprah Winfrey has been nominated for and won awards as a result of her work as an author, philanthropist, talk show host, and actress. Her first nomination came in 1986 for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Color Purple. She has also snagged Emmy Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and People’s Choice Awards. She was inducted into he NAACP Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2013, Oprah Winfrey received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University in Massachusetts for a law degree.


One of Oprah's most recent endeavors was as producer and actor in the film Selma. The movie chronicles Martin Luther King Jr.'s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Oprah played Annie Lee Cooper, a civil rights activist best known for punching Selma Sheriff Jim Clark. Aside from her role as Cooper, Oprah also acted as producer for the film. She was a co-producer with Brad Pitt. Director Ava DuVernay praises the team by stating, "The producers are behind some of the most forward-thinking movies of last year, and they are all coming together.”

Maui Farm

Oprah owns approximately 780 acres on the Hawaii Island of Maui. All produce grown on this land is donated locally. Right now it is only distributed on the island of Maui, but future plans include expanding distribution throughout the Hawaiian islands. Oprah says she loves the farm because she grew up growing things on her grandmother's one-acre farm in Mississippi, so owning her own farm in Maui makes her feel like she's come full circle. 
Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments
Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments
She explains that she began the farm because "It felt like we were not using the land to its ultimate potential and purpose and giving back to the people of the land, so right now, we're growing all these vegetables.”

Source: Oprah Winfrey’s Greatest Accomplishments

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