Doris Buffett Goes for Broke to Help City

Doris Buffett, sister of the legendary investor Warren Buffett, is seen during this "American Spirit" segment on the Dec. 4, 2009, broadcast of the "Evening News."
Doris Buffett, sister of the legendary investor Warren Buffett, is seen during this "American Spirit" segment on the Dec. 4, 2009, broadcast of the "Evening News."
CBS

Pretty much everyone in Fredericksburg, Va., knows Doris Buffett. She's 81 and has the kind of reputation money can buy. CBS News Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports she's given away a fortune.

"Well, I think we're on record, it's something over $80 million," Buffett said.

$80 million. She'd rather not say how much more she has to give. It was money she inherited from her mother whose investments were managed by Doris' kid brother Warren Buffett, legendary owner of Berkshire Hathaway.

"He has a little knack for that," she said. "So I've had some good luck there."

And at one point she was making money faster than she could give it away.

"We'd give away money during the month and then the bank statement would come and I'd have more money than I started out the month with, so it seemed like we're on a treadmill after a while," Doris said.

Schlesinger replied, "This is a problem a lot of people would sort of like to have."

"Well, I look at it differently," she said. "I have a different goal."

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She donates to education programs for adults, for children, and even for prisoners.

The Sunshine Lady Foundation, founded by Doris Buffett

$2 million went to build a top of the line shelter for the mentally ill in Fredericksburg.

And the kids of Fredericksburg got a little help from Doris. When she found out the city was going to charge a fee to get into the swimming pool. She wrote them a check for $62,000. She's written a similar check every year since the pool opened.

She runs her foundation from her bedroom, surrounded by family photos.

Her goal is to give away the money she has left in the time she has left. As Doris Buffett says, "I'd love that last check to bounce."

She swears she's doing it for more down-to-earth reasons - because she can and because it never occurred to her not to.

  • Richard Schlesinger
    Richard Schlesinger

    Correspondent, "48 Hours," "CBS Evening News"