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Howard Buffett uses money, influence to improve lives

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Howard Buffett

Herald & Review/Mark Roberts Local philanthropist Howard Buffet gets a hug from Sister Jocelyn Serwatka, one of the sponsoring sisters at St. Mary's Hospital, after a press conference Monday February 22, 2011 at St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, IL. During the press conference, Buffet announced his foundation would partner with St. Mary's and Neuhoff Media to pledge $135,000 to Meals on Wheels, which is a program run by Catholic Charities.

DECATUR – Howard G. Buffett reaches out from his Decatur home to feed the world.

He does this through the namesake foundation he started in 1999 with the support of his father, Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor. His son has visited 137 countries and funded ground-breaking crop research to help small farmers, especially in Africa, get more adundant yields.

Buffett supports research to improve water supplies but warns food and drink aren't enough if you are afraid of being killed. So the Howard G. Buffett Foundation also uses its influence to try to end conflicts which the foundation says causes famine.

“Conflict and hunger are inextricably linked: conflict breeds hunger and hunger fuels conflict,” according the foundation's website.

Buffett also has a soft spot for animals. He's worked to help fragil cheetah populations and groups of mountain gorillas. Buffett described his encounters with them as “magical.”

He's been honored by world leaders and counts many as friends. Everyone from Rwandan President Paul Kagame to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has visited Buffett's Decatur farm.

But the philanthropist whose aim is to spend 40 years using $3 billion to help the world says charity also begins at home. He once told the Herald & Review that 15 percent of people in Macon County were “food insecure.”

“Hunger is often hidden in this country,” he added. “But you can find it if you want to.”|(217) 421-7977


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