Sunshine Lady – Volunteers seek out needy

Warren Buffet’s older sister is practicing an old-fashioned, personalized philanthropy with her Sunshine Lady Foundation in Morehead, N.C., the Associated Press reported July 11.

Doris Buffet Bryant has given more than $6.2 million over the last four years to needy people and organizations found through word-of-mouth or newspaper clippings. She has 120 trusted volunteers, or “Sunbeams,” who call cases to her attention.

Beneficiaries include 110 abused women across the country who are getting money for education, 90 local students being helped with their college expenses and three dozen Morehead city youths who are getting trips to camp this summer.

Bryant’s philanthropy was inspired by a friend who showed her repeated small kindnesses. Inspired, Bryant later installed air conditioning in the home of a sick pal. From there it was a short step to setting up the Foundation.

The charity’s larger gifts often come with strings attached. Students with scholarships must keep a 3.0 grade-point average, and are expected to write thank-you notes and regular updates on their schooling. The students are also expected to refrain from “destructive behavior”, including body piercing, tattoos, smoking and even owning credit cards. No one has refused.

The $10 million in seed money for the foundation came from a bequest from Bryant’s mother Leila Stahl Buffett, who died in 1996. Her billionaire brother has invested the money in his Berkshire Hathaway investment company, but is not otherwise involved with the foundation.

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