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Howard Buffett's recipe for disrupting philanthropy

The grandson of legendary Warren Buffett has grand plans to bring private-sector savvy to the growing world of mega-philanthropy, as he tells Fast Company.

Howard Buffett is attempting to unify the scattered world of independent nonprofits through his grandfather's multibillion dollar investment strategy: Invest in a portfolio of smart people and let them flourish.

Having just taken the reins as executive director of the family foundation after holding posts in the White House and Department of Defense, Buffett has ambitious plans to pay the world's savviest nonprofits to collaboratively tackle the full spectrum of food security, from third-world farmer education to public policy.

"My grandfather, in part, has been so successful because he has identified the best human capital for managing businesses," Buffett tells Fast Company. Emulating the strategy of investing in people who have proven strategies, the younger Buffett is building a coalition of already-successful leaders in each niche of food security.

The approach, he hopes, will become the standard for his family's growing network of mega-philanthropists: rather than dolling out cash to independent, uncoordinated actors with the most heart-string-tugging story, they could take on an entire social problems (like food security or breast cancer) by systematically lining up nonprofits to tackle each part of the causal chain, from federal policy to victim resources.

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