New MOOC gives away Warren Buffett’s sister’s money

A Northeastern University professor said the MOOC will focus on individual decision-making in giving.

Billionaire Warren Buffett and his sister Doris have been gradually donating their riches to various causes and projects over the years. In fact, Doris Buffett hopes to redistribute all of her wealth before she dies, and has already given away more than $150 million of it.

Doris Buffett is now letting the students who are taking a new massive open online course (MOOC) about philanthropy decide what to do with another $100,000 of her money.

More than 4,000 people have already signed up for the course, which is called “Give With Purpose.” If more people join, the amount of money being given away could grow.  While the Buffets will be the first guest speakers during the MOOC, it will also feature  philanthropic advice from baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. and the founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

Each of the givers will be featured in videos at the end of each of the six class sessions discussing an aspect of philanthropy.

“Giving With Purpose allows us to extend the classroom walls to include any individual passionate about philanthropy,” Doris Buffett said in a statement. “There are thousands of people with the energy and ideas to make a difference.”

The MOOC is based on a class that has been taught at more than 30 universities that allows students to give away $10,000 after evaluating several nonprofits and learning about effective giving. This online offering allowed Doris Buffett’s Sunshine Lady Foundation to expand the classes without adding staff to manage the program.

See Page 2 for what students may learn from the course. 

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