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Howard Warren Buffett

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Subject: National FFA Organization, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, Howard Graham Buffett
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Howard Warren Buffett

Howard W. Buffett
Born (1983-10-14) October 14, 1983 (age 30)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Columbia University (MPA)
Northwestern University (BA)
Employer Howard G. Buffett Foundation
Title Executive Director
Term September 2010
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lili Thomas Buffett
Parents Howard Graham Buffett
Devon Goss Buffett

Howard Warren Buffett (born October 14, 1983) is a faculty member at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs [1] and the executive director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation that funds initiatives aimed at improving the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations.[2] He previously served as the director of agriculture development for the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) at the United States Department of Defense,[3] and as a policy advisor in the Executive Office of the President of the United States under President Barack Obama.

Prior to joining the White House, Buffett served as a special assistant at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,[4] as a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project,[5] and as director of National Surrogate Radio for Obama for America.[6]

Personal life and education

Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to farmer and philanthropist Howard Graham Buffett. He is a grandson of famed American investor and philanthropist Warren Edward Buffett.[7] Raised in Omaha, he attended Ponca Elementary School before moving to Decatur, Illinois, where he attended Mount Zion High School and was elected president of the local chapter of the National FFA Organization.

He completed his undergraduate studies in political science and communications studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois,[8] where he also served as the student body vice president.[9] He went on to receive a master of public administration in advanced management and finance at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.[10]

He is married to Lili Thomas Buffett. They split their time between Omaha, Nebraska, and Decatur, Illinois.[11]



Buffett currently serves as the executive director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private family foundation focused on improving the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations. He has traveled to over 60 countries, often engaged in the humanitarian and agriculture development efforts of the Foundation.[12]

Social Value Investing

At the 2011 Social Good Summit in New York, Buffett introduced the concept of "Social Value Investing." Billed as a new paradigm for philanthropic engagement, the approach is premised on "[tackling] entire social problems (like food security or breast cancer) by systematically lining up nonprofits to tackle each part of the causal chain, from federal policy to victim resources."[13]

Learning by Giving

At the same summit, Buffett announced a five million dollar endowment from his aunt, Doris Buffett, to the Learning by Giving Foundation (, an organization that partners with universities to create classes in philanthropy studies and donates $10,000 to be given by the students in each class.

In his speech at the summit, Buffett referred to Learning by Giving as the first step in the implementation of the Social Value Investment model: ""Learning by Giving is an example of how a small change in the traditional paradigm can transform an entire sector: By simply empowering students to become problem solvers in their own communities, we maximize the impact of our efforts, encourage innovation, and inspire life-long engagements with philanthropy."[14]

Public service

In 2009, Buffett was appointed to the United States Department of Agriculture, where he served as a special assistant in the Office of the Secretary. There, he managed the national expansion strategy for the Department’s $480 million Cooperative Extension Service program. Additionally, he was charged with identifying strategic external partnerships aimed at advancing the core mission areas of research, education, and economics. He also served on the five-year Strategic Planning Initiative, and represented the department in the White House Innovation and Information Policy Working Group.[15]

Upon completion of his service at the Department of Agriculture, Buffett served as a policy advisor in the Executive Office of the President of the United States at the White House, where he was responsible for the Cross-Sector Partnerships portfolio. In this role, he directed strategy development for cross-sector partnerships and innovation strategies aimed at enhancing collaboration between the White House, federal departments, agencies, corporations, nonprofits and foundations.[10]

After leaving the White House, Buffett became the director of agriculture development at the Task Force for Business Stability Operations under the U.S. Department of Defense, where he was tasked with designing and implementing a strategy for agricultural development in Afghanistan and Iraq under the leadership of Paul Brinkley.[16]

White House Energy Innovation Conference

In May 2010, Buffett spearheaded a White House Energy Innovation Conference focused on promoting partnerships. Represented at the event were four federal departments, three federal agencies, entrepreneurs, state government officials, academia, private sector leaders, nonprofits and innovators.[15]

At the conference, the United States Department of Energy and the Small Business Administration jointly announced that both the Small Business Investment Company program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program would begin using their existing funding networks to promote small green energy firms through a new $60 million Business Clean Energy Innovation Fund. The event also served as the launch vehicle for the Regional Energy Innovation Conferences.[15]

The first Regional Energy Innovation Conference was hosted in Omaha, Nebraska on June 17, 2010. The event focused on connecting entrepreneurs and small enterprise with representatives from organizations across sectors and was itself a partnership between the City of Omaha, The Gallup Organization, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Over one hundred local, regional, and national organizations were represented at Gallup University’s Omaha Campus to discuss issues ranging from regional gap funding and human capital needs to collaboration and the early adoption of energy innovation.[17]


Buffett operates a 400 acre no-till farm near Tekamah, Nebraska.[18]

Advisory positions

Buffett serves on the Board of Visitors for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and on the boards of New York Needs You and the Clark and Hinman Foundation. Additionally, he has served as an advisor to both the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the FEED Foundation.[19]

He has also served as a judge for the Collaboration Prize,[20] the American Express 2009 NGen Fellows Program, and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s business plan competitions.

He is an active member of the Nebraska Society and a lifetime alumni member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA).[21]


He is also a published photographer. His work has appeared in National Geographic,[22] World Wide Fund for Nature,[23] and Encyclopedia of Earth.[24]


In the Fall of 2013, Buffett served as a co-professor teaching an Innovations of Public Management class at his alma mater at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Buffett taught the course with program head William Emicke.


External links

  • The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation Official Website
  • The White House Official Website

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