Oprah Winfrey

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“Charity isn’t even charity for me because it is an extension of who I am,” says Oprah Winfrey.Winfrey has donated over $350 million to various causes, but admits when she first achieved financial success, she had difficulty deciding what to give and to whom.

“I tried working with kids who were disabled, I tried working with kids who were juvenile delinquents, I tried working with elderly people — that didn’t work for me,” she says.

It was a trip to South Africa in 2000 that inspired her to build a school for girls, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, which opened in 2007. This year, she’ll attend the graduation of the fifth class, thanks to her contribution of over $100 million through the academy’s foundation, which continues to support them after graduation.