The World's Greatest Philanthropists

The retail philanthropist

Meet Warren Buffett's elder sister, Doris. She helps those who have had bad luck, not those who make bad choices

Separated by just two years, they played, fought and bonded like most siblings. Both skipped a grade. Of the two, the younger one, the older one admits, was more placid and peaceful. Yet, he would get scolded more often. That was Doris and Warren Buffett in their younger days. Despite that playful rivalry — or perhaps, because of it — it was to Doris that Warren turned when he needed help in 2006. This was just days after he had announced that he would give away the bulk of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Warren was inundated with letters asking for help. Doris Buffett was in Maine when her brother called, asking if she could handle the mail, offering an initial $5 million to take over the chore. Doris had already earned her reputation as the “Sunshine lady”, helping ordinary people overcome their difficult circumstances. She found a bunch of women in Maine who had bare-bones prior experience answering mail and started sorting through the letters.