Local student-aid group has big-name connections

By Laurie Bennett

September 15, 2011 at 10:01am

We normally focus on national-level organizations, but once in awhile
we stumble across a local group with impressive Muckety.

This one happens to be based not in New York or Chicago - cities where the neighborhood nonprofit may be led by a Fortune 500 exec.

Avenue Scholars Foundation is in Omaha, a place that conjures one very powerful name.

Warren Buffett is not on the board, but his presence is certainly felt. Daughter Susan is a director. Longtime friend Walter Scott is chairman. Richard Holland, an early investor in Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, is also a board member.

The group, originally called the Bright Futures Foundation, organized in 2008 to help promising students in the Omaha area.

Compared to major nonprofits such as the Gates Foundation, to which Warren Buffett has pledged much of his fortune, Avenue Scholars is small potatoes.

Foundation grants totaled about $1.5 million in 2009, according to its tax return for that year, the most recent publicly available.

The foundation’s
web site
reports that it currently works with 475 students at area high schools, community college and the University of Nebraska.

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