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Susie Buffett’s mission is to support Omaha’s least-advantaged residents. Here’s how she does it

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VIDEO | 01:27
Susie Buffett of the Sherwood Foundation

Susie Buffett has made supporting Omaha’s least-advantaged residents her mission, and she started with the city’s public schools.

Susie Buffett, daughter of Omaha billionaire Warren Buffet, is a top-tier philanthropist in her hometown. In the last two decades, she has given $1.3 billion to charitable organizations serving Omaha and Nebraska through her Sherwood Foundation.

In the fiscal year ended June 2019, Sherwood donated $285 million to her city and state. Working with public institutions, most notably the Omaha Public Schools, she supported more than 550 individual programs.

The school district was the major beneficiary in a $36-million category of giving Buffett calls “capacity building and leadership development.” (Many of the Sherwood Foundation’s grants go to charities working with public schools, not directly to those schools.) Much of that money went toward classroom teaching, professional development and teacher support.

The foundation’s other public school and youth initiatives include:

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• More than $45 million for early childhood education programs

• $9 million to support development of public school curriculum

• $9 million for the Collective for Youth, which runs after-school programs

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• $7 million for college readiness programs

• $2.7 million for juvenile justice advocacy and services

Buffett also gave $87 million to arts programs, cultural institutions and economic development initiatives, including:

• $50 million to support Omaha’s $300-million downtown riverfront redevelopment

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• $6 million to support the Siena Francis House and other homeless shelters and services

• $2 million for Seventy Five North, an Omaha neighborhood revitalization project

• $775,000 to the Omaha Police Foundation, for body cameras and gang specialists

In the same time period, the Sherwood Foundation’s health and wellness initiatives included $5 million for institutions such as the Munroe-Meyer Institute, for individuals with disabilities, as well as broader initiatives, including:

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• $8 million for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault

• $7.5 million for women’s health and reproductive services

• $2 million to provide services for disabled veterans

(Data provided by the Sherwood Foundation)

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