New program provides grants to nonprofits to fight hunger, conflict and poverty

Buffett Foundation, ASU partner on 40 Chances Seed Grants Program

In recognition of #GivingTuesday, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation today announced a new program to engage young people in identifying innovative and impactful efforts to address hunger, conflict and poverty. In partnership with ASU’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, the Buffett Foundation will solicit proposals through the 40 Chances Seed Grants program.

The new program will provide 40 grants, each worth $10,000, to the most innovative nonprofit organizations using strategies built on the effective philanthropic principles described in the New York Times best-selling book "40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World," written by Howard G. Buffett with Howard W. Buffett.

“Giving Tuesday is the perfect occasion for us to make this major announcement,” said Howard G. Buffett, chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “Everywhere I go in the United States, people ask me how they can help improve our world if they don’t have significant financial resources. I am a firm believer that to address hunger and poverty globally, we need everyone to play a role. Through the 40 Chances Seed Grants program, we can recognize, strengthen and support organizations doing great work.”

“ASU is proud to join with the Buffett Foundation in support of this transformational program, which aligns closely with our institutional commitment to foster innovative solutions that yield real world change,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Our students and faculty are excellent ambassadors eager to advance the recognition and success of our nation’s nonprofits.”

Through the partnership, students and faculty at Arizona State University will identify the organizations with the highest potential for impact and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation will make the final determinations on all grant recipients. 

“We are excited to be a part of this truly innovative program to support the Buffett Foundation’s mission to help the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said professor Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation in ASU's College of Public Programs and its School of Community Resources and Development.

“By identifying and providing funding support to new ideas the foundation might not see otherwise, it creates a unique ability to seek solutions from truly anywhere around the world," Ashcraft said. "By engaging our students and faculty in the selection process through this philanthropic learning laboratory, they will earn credit as part of a unique class experience. As a result, we are also paving new ground in terms of educational partnerships between academic institutions and private philanthropy.”

“We have learned over the last decade that you have to take risks to create change,” said Howard G. Buffett. “We have also learned that the best ideas come from people who are on the ground, working every day to solve problems.”

Seed grants will be awarded twice per year, and winners for the first round of grants will be announced in the spring of 2014. Organizations must have U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or be sponsored by an organization with U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to be eligible for consideration. Forty grants will be awarded over four years, for a total of $400,000. Recipients of seed grants will be expected to provide a report on the grant’s impact following the implementation of funds.

#GivingTuesday was created to designate the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a national day of giving.

Find out more information about the 40 Chances Seed Grants program by visiting