Focus areas: Social value investing, cross-sector partnerships, philanthropy, impact investing

Howard W. Buffett is an adjunct Associate Professor and Research Scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His award-winning research, Social Value Investing: A Management Framework for Effective Partnerships (Columbia University Press, 2018), analyzes innovative collaborations from across sectors and outlines a new methodology to measure social and environmental impact called Impact Rate of Return.

Before joining Columbia's faculty, Buffett was the Executive Director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which distributes over $150 million annually to strengthen food security for vulnerable populations throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He coauthored the New York Times best-seller 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World (Simon & Schuster, 2013), which examines the foundation’s work to address global hunger and food systems challenges.

Prior to that, Buffett oversaw economic stabilization and redevelopment programs in Afghanistan and Iraq while at the U.S. Department of Defense. For his work in Afghanistan he received the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award. Buffett also served as a Policy Advisor for the White House Domestic Policy Council, where he coauthored the president’s cross-sector partnership strategy. He also managed the White House Partnerships for Innovation interagency working group. Before joining the White House, Buffett was a member of the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform policy working group for the 2008-09 Presidential Transition Team.

Buffett earned a BS from Northwestern University, an MPA in Advanced Management and Finance from Columbia University, and executive education certificates from Harvard Business School. He was a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he serves on a number of corporate boards and advisory boards, including Case New Holland Industrial (NYSE:CNHI), and Toyota Motor North America (NYSE:TM). He also chairs the Advisory Council for Harvard University’s International Negotiation Program.


Research & Publications

May 2018|Columbia University Press|William B. Eimicke, Howard W. Buffett

Social Value Investing presents a new way to approach some of society’s most difficult and intractable challenges. Although many of our world’s problems may seem too great and too complex to solve — inequality, climate change, affordable housing, corruption, healthcare, food insecurity — solutions to these challenges do exist, and will be found through new partnerships bringing together leaders from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.

In their new book, Howard W. Buffett and William B. Eimicke present a five-point management framework for developing and measuring the success of such partnerships. Inspired by value investing — one of history’s most successful investment paradigms — this framework provides tools to maximize collaborative efficiency and positive social impact, so that major public programs can deliver innovative, inclusive, and long-lasting solutions. It also offers practical insights for any private sector CEO, public sector administrator, or nonprofit manager hoping to build successful cross-sector collaborations.

Social Value Investing tells the compelling stories of cross-sector partnerships from around the world — Central Park and the High Line in New York City, community-led economic development in Afghanistan, and improved public services in cities across Brazil. Drawing on lessons and observations from a broad selections of collaborations, this book combines real life stories with detailed analysis, resulting in a blueprint for effective, sustainable partnerships that serve the public interest. Readers also gain access to original, academic case material and professionally produced video documentaries for every major partnerships profiled — bringing to life the people and stories in a way that few other business or management books have done.