The winning bid for a private lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett may top several million dollars in an online auction to benefit a California homeless charity that wraps up Friday night.
For the 18th consecutive year, Buffett is auctioning off a lunch to raise money for the Glide Foundation, which helps homeless people in San Francisco.
The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has raised nearly $24 million through the auctions. Last year's winner paid $3,456,789, which tied the record set in 2012, the AP reported.
Buffett has praised the charity for the work it does helping people. Buffett became a believer in Glide's work after his first wife, Susie Buffett, showed him what the group was doing for the poor and homeless. Susie Buffett had volunteered for the San Francisco charity before her death in 2004.
"Everyone that has experienced Glide comes away a believer," said Buffett.
Glide provides meals, health care, job training, rehabilitation and housing support to the poor and homeless.
This year's eBay auction began Sunday and quickly topped $1 million. Bids often surge near the end of the eBay auction, which concludes on Friday at 10:30 p.m. EDT. Near midday Friday, the current bid was just over $2 million. The auction had attracted 37 bids so far.
Buffett says the only topic that's off limits in the lunch conversation is what Buffett might invest in next, and the 86-year-old says he usually gets a wide range of questions.
The winners of the lunch auction typically dine with Buffett at Smith and Wollensky steak house in New York City, which donates at least $10,000 to Glide each year to host the lunch. If the winner chooses to remain anonymous the lunch has sometimes been held elsewhere.
Other winners have included Ted Weschler, a hedge fund manager who paid $5.25 million to win two auctions and later became one of Buffett's investing deputies at Berkshire, Reuters reported.
Glide uses its $18 million annual budget to provide more than 750,000 free meals, emergency shelter for 8,500 people, 2,600 HIV and Hepatitis C tests and day care and after school programs for nearly 450 children.
Located in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, Glide was co-founded and is led by the Rev. Cecil Williams, the 87-year-old pastor emeritus of the affiliated Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, and his wife Janice Mirikitani.
Buffett is also donating virtually all of his wealth to several charities. Forbes magazine on Monday estimated his net worth at $74.9 billion.
According to Glide, these bidders won its past auctions:
- 2000: Pete Budlong, $25,000
- 2001: Jim Halperin and Scott Tilson, $20,000
- 2002: Jim Halperin and Scott Tilson, $25,000
- 2003: David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, $250,100
- 2004: Jason Choo, Singapore, $202,100
- 2005: Anonymous, $351,100
- 2006: Yongping Duan, California, $620,100
- 2007: Mohnish Pabrai, Guy Spier, Harina Kapoor, $650,100
- 2008: Zhao Danyang, Pure Heart Asset Management, China, $2,110,100
- 2009: Courtenay Wolfe, Salida Capital, Canada, $1,680,300
- 2010: Ted Weschler, $2,626,311
- 2011: Ted Weschler, $2,626,411
- 2012: Anonymous, $3,456,789
- 2013: Anonymous, $1,000,100
- 2014: Andy Chua, Singapore, $2,166,766
- 2015: Zhu Ye, Dalian Zeus Entertainment Co, China, $2,345,678
Auction site: www.ebay.com/glide
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: www.berkshirehathaway.com
Glide Foundation: www.glide.org
(Newsmax wires services the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report).
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