A Night to Remember with Peter BuffettPeter brought his passion for building a better world back to his hometown during a captivating performance that challenged the audience to think differently and do more good.
“Everyone has a story worth listening to.”
– Susan Buffett –
The lights dimmed, and the audience – composed of the Buffett family, top executives from around the country, local young professionals, donors, United Way representatives from around the world, and students – looked to the side door as Peter entered the stage.
He took a seat at the Steinway and began sharing stories about what it was like growing up in the Buffett household, showing images of old family photos and even a Google Maps Street View of the home he grew up in. He focused on an adage that he remembers his mother, Susan, saying when he was young – “Everyone has a story worth listening to.”
With his performance being focused on philanthropy, and such a diverse audience in attendance, it made a lot of sense to focus on those words from the late Susan Buffett. Everyone does have a story worth listening to, and it’s our job to build a world where that happens, and where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
Peter starting touring his multi-media show, A Concert and Conversation, in 2010 to coincide with the publishing of his book, “Life Is What You Make It.” Since then he’s performed across the world, and more recently he partnered with United Way Worldwide to bring his show to 15 cities across the country. This show was particularly special considering his ties to Omaha, where he grew up and discovered his love for not only music, but also making the world a better place.
“People have ideas of what wealth and privilege are, and I know how I was raised and can say despite that, I was normal…The wealth was growing up in a neighborhood where we knew everybody, being surrounded by a lot of support, and a home with a lot of love in it.”
Throughout the show, which was a mix of him performing his music alongside cellist Michael Kott, sharing stories, answering questions, and treating the audience to tidbits from his life on a projector screen, he stressed the importance of living a life that matters to you, a life with purpose.
As a Buffett, Peter knows what it’s like to live a life where your name precedes you, but he also knows that his parents always stressed the importance of being true to your nature and finding where that leads you.
For him, it led to an acclaimed career as a composer and Emmy Award-winning musician and author. He also found his passion for ending violence and discrimination against girls and women. As the co-president of the NoVo Foundation, he helps guide the organization’s mission and vision and travels the world to learn more about the barriers that prevent women from succeeding.
“What we measure and what we reward tells us what’s critical about the world we’re in. Our system is so upside down and we have to change that. Is that really who we are? Is that really our values? Look at the things you’re measuring and rewarding and see if that really promotes a loving and nurturing ecosystem.”
Watch the “Blood Into Gold” UNICEF-produced music video to hear his song about human trafficking and slavery featuring Akon.
As a close, Peter and Michael performed his song “Can We Love?” that begged the question, “Can we love in the time that we live in?”
Living in a community filled with hardworking, resilient, generous and innovative leaders, donors, volunteers and neighbors who are working to make this town a better place every day – our answer, hands down, is a resounding,
“Yes. We sure can.”
United Way of the Midlands is so honored to have hosted Peter and his family for A Concert and Conversation as well as a VIP reception with local leaders and donors, a lunch and discussion with local foundation executives, and a panel discussion and roundtable for special guests led by Peter, his father Warren, and Brian Gallagher, the CEO of United Way Worldwide.
A special thank you is due to our concert sponsors First Data and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and to United Way Worldwide for their support.
About the Author
Kylie is the Manager of Digital at United Way of the Midlands. Whenever you see a social media post or something new on the website, chances are she was behind it! She loves finding new ways to share stories online that inspire people to give back. Her favorite things in life are her family and friends, her pets Maisel and Bunny, and nachos.