Warren Buffett is auctioning a private lunch to raise money for the Glide Foundation, a charity in San Francisco, California, that serves the homeless. The charity’s co-founders, Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, are hoping that the buyer of this year’s auction will also pay over $1 million for the lunch with Buffett.
The auction began at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, on eBay and will run until the evening of Friday, June 6. Buffett has been working with the Glide Foundation for over a decade. His late wife, Susie Buffett, who died in 2004, was a volunteer with the organization and before her passing showed Warren the services that they provide for the homeless; he has since then been involved with the charity. In the past 14 years, he has raised close to $16 million for the organization.
Buffett stated that the foundation works one-on-one with the people that society has neglected. He expressed that experience has proven that the public was wrong for giving up on these people and that unconditional love can serve as a “transformative power.”
Mirikitani expressed her gratitude for having Buffett as a supporter of their charity. Williams also stated that the organization appreciates all of the bidders and the 15 years of time that Buffett has invested in helping their community. The Glide Foundation provides not only meals and health care for the homeless, but also assists them with rehabilitation, job training, and support for housing.
The winner of last year’s lunch auction with Warren Buffett, paid $1,000,100 which was significantly lower than the amount that the winners of the previous years had paid. In 2012 the winner of the auction paid $3,456,789, which was not only in numerical order, it was also the most expensive charity item in eBay history.
Charities such as the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares have also used eBay to raise money. Since 2005, MusiCares has been able to raise funds close to $4 million.
Buffett is positive that the winning bid for this year will be higher than last year’s. He thinks they will exceed it “by quite a bit,” due to the limits that have been set for prequalified bidders. Buffett said that he is not completely sure why people would pay such a high amount to have a private lunch with him but he believes that the mission of the Glide Foundation may have something to with it.
The lunch usually lasts a few hours and takes place at Smith and Wollensky, a high-end steak house in New York City, which donates about $10,000 to host the lunch each year. Buffett makes the effort to ensure the satisfaction of the auction winner, and he opens himself to any topic of conversation other than what his next investment will be.
Buffett is a billionaire, investor and philanthropist who owns numerous companies and has large investments in Coca-Cola Company, International Business Machines Corporation and Wells Fargo and Company. Each year thousands of investors travel to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the shareholder’s meeting for Berkshire Hathaway of which Warren Buffett is the Chief Executive Officer. For four hours Buffett and Charlie Munger answer questions from investors and the press. It is likely that there are many people such as these investors who believe that the value of Warren Buffett’s advice is worth the high price of the lunch auction.
By Sarah Temori