> Warren Buffett Blog: Extremely proud of Dorris Buffett generosity with money and time

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Extremely proud of Dorris Buffett generosity with money and time

I’ve always said I like to give away money wholesale and she likes to give away money retail. Every individual to her is special. If she picks up a little kid who has dental problems, her reaction is: ‘What dentist can see that kid?’ If I pick up a kid, all I’m thinking is: ‘Who can I hand him off to before he pees!’ I mean, she is genuinely interested in a guy who’s had his pickup truck stolen or whatever it may be. Through no fault of their own, they’ve been handed a bum deal in their life. And I empathize with those people, but I’m not going to spend my days working with them. I’m too selfish for that, and I enjoy what I do.
Warren Buffett with his sister Dorris
My dad would have admired enormously what she’s doing. He would admire her more than what I’ve done — and I do, too. She gives money of her own and takes down her net worth every year by giving money away, and she really does want to die at zero. And on top of that, she gives all this time and energizes other people.

I have never done any philanthropy that has changed my way of living or my family’s, and Doris has. 

I’ve given up nothing. I mean, I gave away earlier this month $3 billion worth of stock. I made an annual distribution to a lot of foundations. That stock has no utility to me. None. It can’t make my life happier. It can’t make my physical condition better. It can’t entertain me and it can’t do anything for my children. Having those stock certificates going to someone else who can buy vaccines or maybe teach people how to use small plots of land better in Africa and open up educational opportunities allowing for women to plan their families has enormous facility to others but hasn’t taken anything away from me. No question it does a lot of good. But there are no wishes I’ve had in life that I’ve given up in order to help someone else. I’ve given away something that has no meaning.

But Doris is giving time, and time is the scarcest commodity. No matter who you are, you have 24 hours a day, and when you give time up you’re giving up something important. So if you were keeping a scorecard in life, you’d give her a higher score than me. If a person puts five or 10 dollars in the collection plate and that makes a difference whether they eat out or not, that’s giving something up. There’s nothing wrong with what I do, but if you’re judging the quality of our giving, Doris wins.