The 10th Annual George McGovern Leadership Award
The 2011 Award Recipients
Howard G. Buffett grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has been active in business, politics, philanthropy, agriculture, conservation, and photography. In 1999, he established the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations, focusing on water delivery to vulnerable communities in Africa and Central America, and agricultural resource development for small-holder farmers.
In September 2008, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund Purchase for Progress. Buffett’s early commitment to the program helped the World Food Program through the challenging task of translating a concept into a pilot program. What’s more, Buffett’s first-hand knowledge of farming makes him an especially effective partner in Purchase for Progress (P4P). The Howard G. Buffett Foundation’s total donation of $29 million has supported the work of the program in four Central American countries and three countries in Africa, benefitting tens of thousands of farmers and their families.
“Small farmers play a crucial role in fighting global hunger and poverty, both for their own families and for the regions in which they live,” Buffett says. “It is critically important they have the opportunity to compete in the marketplace in order to reliably feed their families, help make their regions more food secure, and become full participants in their local economies.”
Buffett currently spends the majority of his time managing the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. He also operates a 1,240-acre family farm in central Illinois, and a 400-acre family-owned farm in eastern Nebraska, and oversees two foundation operated research farms: 2,500 acres in Illinois and 9,200 acres in South Africa.
As chairman of Microsoft, and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates is a worldwide leader in business and philanthropy. Gates began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was officially formed in 2000. The core belief of the foundation, “every life has equal value,” is supported by programs in education, and global health and development. Along with co-chair, Melinda Gates, he shapes and approves grantmaking strategies, advocates for the foundation’s issues, and helps set the overall direction of the organization. About five years ago, Gates devoted himself full time to philanthropy.
In 2008, Bill Gates along with Howard G. Buffett announced at the United Nations their commitment to Purchase for Progress (P4P). The Gates Foundation generously granted $67.1 million to P4P for the implementation, management, and administration of the initiative in 10 countries in Africa. “This cause advances U.S. interests. It also fulfills our ideals,” says Gates. “As we support the work of farming families in Africa and South Asia, we’re affirming a vital part of our national character as Americans: our belief that we can and should build a better world.”
For more information about P4P please see: http://www.wfp.org/purchase-progress
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