Billionaire Wall Street kingpin Warren Buffett’s sister, Doris, opens Pandora’s box and finds Hope.
When she was a little girl, Doris Buffett prayed that a fairy godmother would whisk her away from an abusive mother. Now she’s swooping in herself to help others who’ve had bad breaks in life.
Since 1996, Doris has given away an incredible $100 million, most of it directly to thousands of individuals who are “unlucky through no fault of their own.” Now 82, Doris has suffered two “warning strokes” – and she’s anxious to give away the rest of her fortune.
“The plan is for my last check to bounce,” Doris says with a laugh.
If Doris’ name sounds familiar, it should – her brother is Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous investor and one of the richest men on earth.
Few know that Doris and Warren were severely emotionally abused when they were growing up, a fact they discuss for the first time in the new book, Giving It All Away: The Doris Buffett Story, published by The Permanent Press.
When Doris was 12, she locked herself in a closet to get away from her abusive mother.
“I won’t remember this when I’m 40,” she kept whispering to herself, crying. Outside the door, her mother, Leila Buffett, continued one of a lifelong series of vicious verbal attacks. “She was never happy till I was sobbing,” Doris recalls.
Warren, who is two years younger than Doris, says he often felt the urge to protect his sister. “But I never did, because I was afraid of becoming the target myself,” he says. At 13, he ran away from home to escape the wrath of his mother, but was found and brought back.
On the day of the 1987 stock market crash, Doris lost everything, going $2 million into debt . She had to take in boarders to keep from losing her home.
When her mother died in 1996, Doris inherited great wealthfrom a family trust, and shortly afterward, set up The Sunshine Lady Foundation . Although she never got her wish for a fairy godmother, the money through her foundation allowed her to be a fairy godmother for others.
Warren says proudly: “Doris has always had enormous empathy for the person who has really gotten a short straw in life.”