When Doris Buffett relocated to Boston, her favorite philanthropic initiative—the Letters Program—moved with her. With our dedicated team working around the clock, the Letters Foundation was formally established in fall 2016 to expand our reach to individuals across the country.
In just two short years, the Letters Foundation has rallied hundreds of volunteers in Greater Boston, bringing Doris’ philanthropic vision to life. We have granted over $4 million to 380 individuals in just over 700 days. This means, over the course of the past two years, one person has received a life-changing grant every other day since we opened our doors.
We called on the community to help us ensure that Doris and Warren’s dollars were thoughtfully distributed to those in need. Today, we have solidified a group of more than 50 Boston-based volunteers every single week, who make our grant-making possible at a scale that we could never achieve otherwise.
Doris’ lifelong commitment to individuals, in addition to her kind and practical approach to problem-solving, continue to inform all areas of our giving. Our mission is to read letters from people across the country facing unforeseen challenges, and help connect them with appropriate resources, offering a hand-up when there is nowhere else they can turn.
We read every single letter that we receive. In these last two years alone, we have read and responded to over 5,000 letters from individuals and families working to stabilize their lives.
We could not have accomplished this without our passionate staff and volunteers. Our staff has enabled the Foundation to evolve and grow, while remaining true to Doris’ philosophy of giving. Importantly, our staff has cultivated a cohort of generous volunteers who help us in invaluable ways: from handling administrative tasks, to reading letters, to supporting grant-seeking clients with their applications, to conducting research into resources for those in need.
Our mission is unique: we direct funds to individuals. We hope our work inspires the next generation of philanthropists, and groups of people across the country, to dedicate their time, energy and resources to people in their own communities.
We are privileged to be here in Boston, where we have developed partnerships with local nonprofits supporting individuals and families to better serve people in our community. Through engaging a select cohort of community partners in Greater Boston, we have embarked on a new strategy for grant-making over the past year that we look forward to sharing with you on our blog next month!
As we celebrate the past two years and look ahead, we are motivated to continue upholding our mandate—Every letter read—and strengthening ties with our community to lift up individuals who write to us.