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Oprah Winfrey Donates $2 Million to Help Puerto Rico's Recovery From Hurricane Maria

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Oprah speak onstage during 'Oprah's Super Soul Conversations' at The Apollo Theater on Feb. 7, 2018 in New York City. Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey has donated $2 million to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017, Reuters reported.


The Hispanic Federation and the Flamboyan Arts Fund announced in a statement Monday that they had received $1 million each from Winfrey. The donation to Hispanic Federation's UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico will help the island meet its long term needs following the storm. The donation to Flamboyan will support arts and culture on the island.

Flamboyan was started by Puerto Rican writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda in 2018 to promote arts on the island in the wake of the storm. Miranda also brought his famous creation Hamilton to the island early in 2019, The Hill reported.

"I was so moved by Lin-Manuel Miranda's commitment to bring Hamilton to Puerto Rico and support the community that served him growing up that I wanted to join in the revitalization efforts of an island so rich in culture, beauty and heritage," Winfrey said in the statement announcing the donation. "The needs of Puerto Rico and our fellow American citizens following the tragic hurricanes are still very real, and the work that has already been done by the Hispanic Federation, Flamboyan Arts Fund and other organizations on and off the island is long from over."

The Hispanic Federation has been the largest institutional contributor to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, directing $30 million towards community groups on the island. Its UNIDOS program has coordinated hundreds of donation drives, delivered millions of pounds of food, water and other necessities and provided disaster aid to 78 severely impacted municipalities. The Flamboyan Arts Fund was founded by Miranda to make sure that literature, music, theater, visual arts, dance and arts education were all part of the island's recovery. His 23-performance run of Hamilton in San Juan in January was expected to raise $15 million for the fund.

Winfrey's commitment comes as Puerto Rico's government continues to tussle with the Trump administration over federal aid to the island. Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump complained that the island had received "too much" aid at the same time as more than a million Puerto Ricans faced food stamp cuts as Congress failed to secure funding. In fact, a University of Michigan study found that the federal response to Maria was both slower and less generous than its response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma the same year.

The September 2017 disaster claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people. Full power was not restored to all homes on the island until almost 11 months after the storm struck. A November 2018 study found that climate change made Hurricane Maria five to 10 percent wetter than it would have been if the burning of fossil fuels had not pumped excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, raising global temperatures.

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