Buffett: Demand for Charity Is Unlimited

Thursday, 25 Feb 2010 08:29 AM

By Dan Weil

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Warren Buffett, the world’s second richest man, says there is an infinite need for philanthropy.

And the Berkshire Hathaway CEO should know. He’s given away billions to charity himself, mostly to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“There are so many people out there who got the short straws in life,” Buffett told Bloomberg.

“You read about unemployment statistics, but look someone in the face who wonders where he’s going to get his next meal, and it takes on a different dimension.”

How much money do charities need?

“The demand is unlimited,” Buffett said. “You really want to make your charitable dollar go as far as it can.”

A Toronto hedge fund manager just lunched with Buffett after winning an auction by bidding $1.7 million.

The money will go to the Glide Foundation of San Francisco, which offers job training, healthcare and counseling for the needy.

“When you get a proven quantity like Glide, and you get the people running it who you watch do it for 40 years and do it magnificently, they are the ones, in my view, to support,” Buffett said.

“But there are all kinds of worthy organizations out there.”

The annual Buffett lunch makes a lot of money for charity in a difficult economy.

"In this economy, people won't spend huge amounts of money,” Jonathan Carson, chief executive of charity auction house BiddingForGood.com, told Reuters.

But the lunch with Buffett creates “auction fever,” he said.

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