Renowned Philanthropist Doris Buffett Visits FSU to Hear From Non-Profit Giving Students

Renowned Philanthropist Doris Buffett Visits FSU to Hear From Non-Profit Giving Students

May 12, 2016

When Billionaire investor Warren Buffett looks to donate his money to benefit society, he counts on the guidance of his older sister, Doris, to ensure that his dollars are being put to good use.

One of the many ways that Doris Buffett has chosen to invest the $100 million she has given away over the past 20 years is by training the next generation of responsible philanthropists through the Learning by Giving Foundation.

“There is so much joy in giving people hope,” she told students in Dr. Ira Silver’s Non-Profit Giving Class during the group’s end-of-year ceremony on May 10th.

Students in the course are provided with $10,000 from the Learning by Giving Foundation to donate to a charity of their choice. They begin the semester by reading Dr. Silver’s book, Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream, which shows how philanthropy can enable Americans experiencing hard times to move their lives forward. Students then begin a comprehensive process that involves researching local non-profit organizations, creating an RFP (Request for Proposals), reviewing bids, and doing site visits before determining how to spend the money.

Stephanie Brown says she frequently found herself in the minority when it came to discussing each funding proposal, but her frustration faded as she learned more about each organization.

“As we moved along in the process, the optimism of the group became infectious,” Brown says. “And the joy and passion we saw from the organizations during the site visits was inspiring.”

This year’s class chose to donate the $10,000 to School on Wheels of Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to providing support to homeless children struggling to stay on track in school.

Sociology major Will Carruthers knows first-hand the impact that School on Wheels can have on at-risk youth. Carruthers experienced homelessness throughout his childhood that he says could have led him down a dark path, if not for the help he received from the organization.

“School on Wheels is personal to me,” Carruthers said. “I wouldn’t be in college right now if it wasn’t for their assistance. To be in a position to help them receive $10,000 means so much to me.”

Carruthers presented the check to School on Wheels Operations Director Robin Gilbert.

“I’m speechless,” Gilbert said. “$10,000 is a lot of money for a small organization. We promise to put it to good use.”

This year’s class went above and beyond by raising more than $1,000 on their own to donate to their second choice charity, Bethany Hill Place in Framingham, which provides affordable housing and support to families experiencing homelessness. Buffett was so impressed by the effort and passion of the students, she pledged to match the money they personally raised up to $10,000.

“You are a great group and an inspiration to me,” she said. “You can’t begin to know how much good you are doing.”

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.