Buffett Foundation Makes Record Pledge
24 March 2016 at 11:20 am
The youngest son of billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett has made the largest commitment ever made by a private foundation – pledging US$90 million (A$120 million) – to address issues of inequality facing young women of colour in the US.
The NoVo Foundation, created in 2006 by husband and wife Jennifer and Peter Buffett, said the commitment was to support and deepen the movement for girls and young women of colour in the US over seven years.
The foundation said the funds would support grassroots programming and advocacy, as well as national-level policy and culture change efforts, that are girl-led, girl-driven and designed to address the systemic and institutional challenges faced by these girls and young women across the country.
As part of the process for identifying how to invest this US$90 million commitment, NoVo said it would launch a series of regional learning sessions in different locations to hear directly of their experiences and those of advocates.
“Inherently, girls and young women of colour already hold incredible power and potential. This work is about dismantling the barriers that prevent them from realising that potential and leading us toward a truly transformative movement for change,” co-president of the NoVo Foundation, Jennifer Buffett, said.
Co-president, Peter Buffett said: “Our goal is to create the conditions for change by advancing the work of the real experts in this movement – girls and young women of colour and the advocates working with them.”
They said that central to the design of NoVo’s emerging work is the belief that this cohort are experts in their own lives and must be invested in as they lead efforts to transform systems of inequity.
Peter and Jennifer Buffett were named in Barron’s list of top 25 most effective philanthropists in 2009 and 2010.
“Across philanthropy and far beyond, we see unprecedented potential to ensure that girls and young women of colour finally move from invisibility to investment, “ Executive Director of the NoVo Foundation, Pamela Shifman, said.
“Now is our chance to work together to harness this moment and ensure it is translated into long-term, meaningful change.”
Shifman said that in the United States, this group faces deep-seated disparities.
“From birth, girls of colour are more likely to face poverty than white girls – over 60 per cent of girls of colour are born to families living on low incomes or below the poverty line. They’re also more likely to suffer child sexual abuse, be sexually harassed on the street and at school, and experience dating violence,” she said.
Shifman said that despite the data there was a persistent and widespread notion in the United States that they were doing fine.
“That’s an incredibly dangerous myth, and it’s standing in the way of ensuring that girls and young women of colour are the focus of the research, investment and action they so urgently deserve.”