KINGSTON, NY – In 2020, a charitable foundation controlled by Peter Buffett and his wife distributed more than $24 million to Ulster County and regional nonprofits, schools, activist groups, agricultural, pantry and college programs, according to tax records.
The majority of 2020 funding went to the Hudson Valley Farm Hub and Radio Kingston.
NoVo had previously donated at least $116 million to charities, activists and governments between 2017 and 2019, tax records show.
Buffett, who lives in Lomontville, is the youngest son of multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Buffet and his wife, Jennifer, control the charity NoVo Foundation.
According to 2020 tax records, the foundation has donated a total of $24.7 million to community groups, nonprofits, activist organizations and others in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
Buffet bought the former Gill Farm in Hurley in 2013.
He posted a “Letter to the Kingston Community” on June 7, 2021 on blogging site Medium, outlining the mission of the NoVo Foundation and its philosophical underpinnings. The foundation was created 15 years ago with a $1 billion stock gift from Warren Buffett, whose net worth was recently estimated by Forbes magazine at $123 billion.
In a recent email, Buffett said continued donations from NoVo would bring about substantial change and provide needed programs.
“NoVo has made and will continue to make significant infrastructure investments in Kingston…as well as a wide variety of other capital projects, such as the new clinic being built by the Institute for Family Health on Pine St. ., the restoration of the Burger Matthews House by TRANSART on Henry St., and the redevelopment of the Broadway Bubble laundromat and community center with Kingston Midtown Rising on Broadway which will open later in the spring,” Buffett wrote, referring to donations. past and others that are not included in the tax records currently available.
Infrastructure, he said, “is by far the most expensive part of our job.
“However, we know that by investing the time, energy and funding to build physical infrastructure, we are collectively creating, in partnership with the community, new resources that will serve Kingston for generations to come.” , wrote Buffett. “While these capital projects often take years to complete, we believe that meaningful change is often slow, steady work that may very well benefit people we will never meet, as today’s children become the grandparents of tomorrow. »
The bulk of donations from 2017 to 2019 — more than $50 million — went to the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, which Buffett said NoVo helped establish on the Gill Farm property.
2020 records show an additional $15,011,471 donated to Farm Hub.
“NoVo has made very significant investments in the Farm Hub to help Kingston and surrounding areas prepare for what we anticipate will be difficult times ahead,” Buffett said. “We have all seen firsthand the impact of the pandemic on supply chains and there is no doubt that similar, if not more severe, shocks will occur.
“We envision the Farm Hub as part of a localized food system that creates a more direct relationship between the demand for food and its supply,” he added. “A reliable and healthy local food system is the cornerstone of a more resilient community. This means better nutrition in our major institutions, as well as in grocery stores, home kitchens, and ultimately the growing children of our community.
NoVo also donated $5 million to Radio Kingston in 2020. This is in addition to the nearly $20 million donated between 2017 and 2019.
“In the case of Radio Kingston, we support key infrastructure that elevates voices in our community and helps residents reconnect with each other through shared interests, storytelling, civil discourse or simply great music” , said Buffett, who is a musician. . “However, its ability as an emergency communications resource is equally important. On a practical level, last month’s ice storm exposed vulnerabilities in the current system when thousands of residents lost power, heat, internet and cell service.
“Radio Kingston’s infrastructure has remained intact,” Buffett said. “Now that the initial investment has been made, the station can serve as a resource for emergency communications, as well as a central, accessible hub for up-to-date information and assistance, now and in the future.”
2020 tax records show $1,175,000 went to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck.
“Omega Institute, in a very different way, provides learning opportunities in a way that can be hard to come by,” Buffett said. “Omega’s leadership programs have benefited organizations in Kingston by providing access to innovative curricula, networking events and learning seminars in a thoughtful and supportive environment. Our support has enabled Omega to provide certain offerings at lower cost and has also helped them through a very difficult year.
Bard College, which received pledges of hundreds of millions from George Soros, has secured $70,898 in NoVo funding in 2020 and more in the past.
“Bard College, for example, provides educational opportunities for populations that are often overlooked or overlooked at all,” Buffett said. and the new “BardBac” full scholarship pathway for mature students. The Bard Prison Initiative, along with their work in high schools across the country, also stand out as outstanding programs that we believe are worth supporting.
Other groups or agencies receiving funding in 2020 include the Boys and Girls Club of Ulster County in Kingston, $650,000; Extension of the Cornell cooperative, $350,000; Mount Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz, $200.00; People’s Square, $300.00; YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County, $250,000; Bardavon 1899 Opera House, operators of the Ulster Performing Arts Center, $250,000; Center for Creative Education, $288,000; Family of Woodstock, $325,000; and Kingston City Land Bank, $221,167.
Other groups or agencies receiving funding in 2020 include Mohonk Preserve, Clinton Avenue Methodist Church, Jewish Federation of Ulster County, the Good Work Institute, Farm to Table Community Inc., Citizens for Local Power and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, now known as For the number.
Buffett said 2021 records will show more donations to 60 organizations.
“Much of this money is going to long-cherished Midtown youth institutions like the Boys and Girls Club, Center for Creative Education, Everette Hodge Community Center and YMCA, all of which have opened their doors and stepped up to provide daytime educational services. , in partnership with the school district, at the height of the pandemic,” Buffett wrote. “We have also provided support to long-standing organizations, including Family of Woodstock, People’s Place and United Way, which have met the community’s most basic and critical needs – housing, food, health and welfare services. mental health, and other emergency support.
Buffett said NoVo was able to embark on its mission during the pandemic.
“We were also able to act quickly to support new collaborative initiatives that have sprung up during the pandemic, such as the Kingston Emergency Food Collaborative, which facilitated the distribution of thousands of prepared meals and groceries in the school district of the city of Kingston.
Buffett said the funding was intentionally spread out.
“We fund in different ways because we live in complex times like no other,” Buffett said. “Jennifer and I have learned that the way philanthropy often works is to address the symptoms of much bigger problems, rather than their causes.”
“All of our work is grounded in the belief that challenges and solutions come from the same place, and that local residents are the best experts in the communities they call home,” Buffett said. “We center the lived experience and leadership of historically and persistently marginalized people and help them create their own solutions for a more just and balanced world.”
Editor Ivan Lajara contributed to this report.