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Best Practices for Charitable Gifts to Individuals

There has been much recently written about Doris Buffett, the sister of Warren Buffett, and her efforts to gift millions of dollars to disadvantaged individuals. Ms. Buffett received a substantial inheritance after her mother’s death in 1996 and has since vowed to “give it all away,” with more than $100 million given away to date. Ms. Buffett provides funds to individuals who have fallen on hard times, with special empathy for the working poor and families in crisis, largely through her private foundation, The Sunshine Lady Foundation, Inc. Ms. Buffett’s goal is to provide “life-changing” grants; her gifts average approximately $4,800, though they can be much larger.1 Lately, Ms. Buffett has generated more public interest with her request for the assistance of local volunteers in the Boston area to aid her in reviewing the requests and determining deserving recipients.

The generosity of Doris Buffett is inspiring and contagious. To the extent this strikes a chord with others who want to assist those less fortunate, there are a variety of considerations to take into account when making gifts to needy individuals.

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