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Local philanthropist gives $30 million to domestic abuse victims
BY AMY FLOWERS UMBLE
Last year, philanthropist Doris Buffett received 645 thank-you notes--one for each woman going to school on a scholarship she started.
Buffett, a Fredericksburg resident, wants to make sure those scholarships for
"It's a hugely generous gift," said Nancy Soward, executive director of WISP, a national organization based in Wilmington, N.C.
The money will help women go back to school after leaving abusive partners.
"Someone who goes from poverty to getting their RN and being able to work in a job that provides them with health benefits and a living wage is provided with hope for the future," Soward said.
Women apply for scholarships through WISP, which started in 1999 as a program of Buffett's Sunshine Lady Foundation. The grants can pay for tuition, books and school fees or for other expenses such as child care and transportation.
"Basically, whatever it takes to get these women into a life-changing experience," said Rebecca Curry, who volunteers with the foundation.
WISP has helped 900 women from all over America graduate from school. These graduates have gone on to be truck drivers, shoe designers, ministers and doctors, Soward said.
"This is really a premier program in the country, changing people's lives," she said.
Buffett has supported Soward's efforts from the beginning, giving money, advice and insight. The new donation has allowed WISP to form its own foundation outside the Sunshine Lady Foundation.
"The money will help to continue our work for about 10 years," Soward said.sunshinelady.org and wispinc.org
Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973