For musician Peter Buffett and his wife Jennifer, philanthropy started in 1997 with a gift of $100,000 from Peter’s father, Warren Buffett, for them to give to an organization of their choice. As it turned out, this was a prelude of sorts: successive gifts from Dad of $10 million in 1999 and $1 billion in 2006 launched the young Buffetts into philanthropy in a profound and serious way.
They quickly felt that with $1 billion came not just opportunity, but also a responsibility to use those dollars wisely. So the Buffetts began to literally travel the world in search of a mission, eventually concluding that the world’s most undervalued asset is a girl. In response, they founded the NoVo Foundation to right the imbalance of power for women and girls. “We talk about reaching the last girl, the most exploited, forgotten-about, and invisible girl,” says Jennifer Buffett.
With NoVo, the Buffetts have chosen to pursue some of the world’s grittiest and most ubiquitous problems, like ending violence against women and girls everywhere. Committed to strengthening the nonprofits they work with, the Buffetts know that success will not come at the end of a project, but through long-term systematic change.
In 2008, the Buffetts received the Clinton Global Citizen Award for their efforts. But when listening to them speak, it becomes clear that their real reward comes in the form of the “heart-mending” hope they see in the girls they help.More Remarkable Givers
- Against “philanthropic colonialism”: The Buffetts are there to listen—not to save the day
- “Check Motivation”: The Buffetts tell new philanthropists to explore why they want to give
- Courageous capital: Peter and Jennifer Buffett try to reach “the last girl”
- Creating NoVo Foundation: Peter and Jennifer Buffett follow Warren Buffett’s advice to “try to go where others are not”
- “Giving too much too soon”: Peter and Jennifer Buffett learn an important lesson about how not to give
- Hands on approach: Peter and Jennifer Buffett want to be a part of it, but they know it’s not for everyone
- Impermanent foundation: David Rubenstein anticipates following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
- Know where you want to go: For the Buffetts, a clear strategy is essential
- Let passion find you: Peter Buffett says to follow the things that “light you up” in philanthropy
- Living the Giving Pledge: For Herb Sandler, heeding Buffett’s call came naturally
- Meeting Nayna: For the Buffetts, seeing one girl’s resilience was “not heart-breaking, it was heart mending”
- Money, approach, and voice: Peter and Jennifer Buffett have “three at-bats” to create the changes they seek
- Peter and Jennifer Buffett support NoVo Foundation grantees by supporting organizations for a long time
- Supporting growth: Jennifer Buffett and Women for Women International
- Surefire staffing: Peter and Jennifer Buffett ramped up hiring for NoVo Foundation slowly
- “The gift of starting small”: The Buffetts tested the philanthropic waters before diving deep
- The hard road: Jennifer Buffett admits some days are heartbreaking
- “We don’t want quarterly reports”: The Buffetts believe success will take time