Oprah Winfrey closes charity as talk show ends

Angel Network stops accepting donations for grants program

Oprah Winfrey's charity, the Angel Network, is closing down as the popular U.S. television talk show host prepares to end "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2011 after 25 years to set up her own cable TV network.

The Angel Network said on its website (www.oprahsangelnetwork.org) that the charity, which stemmed from Winfrey's popular daytime chat show, would not be accepting donations from May 24 and was ending its grant-making program.

Nearly 150,000 donors have given more than $80 million since the network began in 1998, helping to fund more than 200 grants and projects in the United States and more than 30 other countries.

The Angel Network said it has helped build more than 55 schools in 12 countries, provided school uniforms and supplies to 18,000 South African children, and helped more than 1,000 families get back into their homes after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"We plan to dissolve as a 501c3 public charity, after final disbursement of funds has been completed," said the statement. "Oprah remains deeply committed to philanthropy, and her new cable network -- OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network -- will continue to highlight charitable organizations in conjunction with its programing in the years ahead."

From next year, Winfrey will host a new show from around the world called "Oprah's Next Chapter" that will be broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, the Los Angeles-based cable TV venture she formed with Discovery Communications Inc.

The 24-hour network is set to be seen in 70 million homes and will start next January.

Winfrey announced in November on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that she would end her daytime show because it "feels right." The top-rated daytime show is broadcast from Chicago on ABC stations across the United States and in more than 140 countries.

It became one of TV industry's biggest moneymakers and helped Winfrey, 56, amass a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $2.3 billion.
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