A key challenge facing the design of differential privacy in the non-interactive setting is to maintain the utility of the released data. To overcome this challenge, we utilize the Diaconis-Freedman-Meckes (DFM) effect, which states that most projections of high-dimensional data are nearly Gaussian. Hence, we propose the RON-Gauss model that leverages the novel combination of dimensionality reduction via random orthonormal (RON) projection and the Gaussian generative model for synthesizing differentially-private data. We analyze how RON-Gauss benefits from the DFM effect, and present multiple algorithms for a range of machine learning applications, including both unsupervised and supervised learning. Furthermore, we rigorously prove that (a) our algorithms satisfy the strong ɛ-differential privacy guarantee, and (b) RON projection can lower the level of perturbation required for differential privacy. Finally, we illustrate the effectiveness of RON-Gauss under three common machine learning applications – clustering, classification, and regression – on three large real-world datasets. Our empirical results show that (a) RON-Gauss outperforms previous approaches by up to an order of magnitude, and (b) loss in utility compared to the non-private real data is small. Thus, RON-Gauss can serve as a key enabler for real-world deployment of privacy-preserving data release.