Remembering Doris Buffett, Fredericksburg Region Philanthropist
The Community Foundation remembers an exemplar of generosity, Doris Buffett. The older sister of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Doris passed away August 4, 2020. Her charitable impact on the greater Fredericksburg region is indelible.
One of the most powerful aspects of philanthropy is its power to transform. Something of an iconoclast in the world of charitable giving, she gave to others in a very personal and hands on way.
Doris’ obituaries in the Free Lance-Star, the Washington Post, and the New York Times all mention ways that witnessing and experiencing hardship in her life and the world around her created a tireless drive to help others. Doris’ resilience in the face of childhood trauma, the economic destruction of the Great Depression and more seems to have been powered in some part by her passion for connecting with and supporting people in need.
Over the years, Doris Buffett supported some of The Community Foundation’s most effective initiatives.
She was a founding donor to Youth in Philanthropy, a program that teaches area high school students the art and science of charitable giving. Known as YIP, the program gives young people the opportunity to identify community needs, evaluate requests for funding and eventually recommend $10,000 grants to regional organizations.
Doris is a charter member of the Women and Girls Fund. This fund – and the community of generous women that has grown up around it – seeks to establish a $1 million endowment as a permanent asset to support area women and girls in need. Today the fund has 462 members and continues to grow. Grants from this fund support programs that benefit the needs of women and girls in our community, like Empowerhouse’s work to expand Healthy Relationships classroom presentations in area schools and Legal Aid Works’ Domestic Violence Divorce Project to represent victims of domestic violence in civil court, since no free public attorneys are available.
Doris’ Sunshine Lady Foundation created the Doris E. Buffett Pool Fund of The Community Foundation to help ensure that citizens of Fredericksburg have access to the City’s Doris E. Buffett Pool regardless of their ability to pay a pool fee.
Most recently, the Sunshine Lady Foundation made a leadership gift of $100,000 to the Community Relief Fund of the Community Foundation to support critical needs in our community resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We feel sure that Doris, who loved the Fredericksburg community and who felt loved by the Fredericksburg community, would very much have wanted the Sunshine Lady Foundation to take part in this community effort,” shared a foundation representative. [Learn more about the impact of this gift and others to the Community Relief Fund here.]
These examples are only a few of the ways Doris Buffett spread charitable sunshine in our region that is substantial and lasting. She gave through The Community Foundation and she gave equally generously through organizations and schools like Empowerhouse, Germanna Community College, University of Mary Washington and many others.
Thank you, Sunshine Lady.