Every year, the Glide Foundation auctions off a lunch with Warren Buffett to help raise money for helping the poor and homeless in San Francisco. Every year, the amount seems to grow bigger and bigger. This year, they’re hoping for another big bidder.
Last year, the winning bid was $3,456,789. And for the past five years, the winning bidders have paid more than $2 million each to meet the “Oracle of Omaha,” who is second on the Forbes 400 list. The organization has about a $17 million annual budget, and with Buffett’s increasing going price the auction has become a significant part of its fundraising efforts.
The Glide auction is the only one that Buffett participates in. He was first introduced to its founder, Rev. Cecil Williams, several years ago and was impressed by how the organization helps people.
“There’s all kinds of people that need that kind of help, and I don’t think anybody is better at providing it than Glide,” Buffet said of the organization. This year, he will go up for auction beginning June 2 and ending on June 7.
Winners can spend several hours with Buffett, and they can ask him about anything other than what he is planning on investing in next. The lunches typically happen at Smith and Wollensky steak house in New York, a privilege for which the restaurant pays dearly—each year they donate at least $10,000 to Glide to be the host.
One past winner, Ted Weschler, paid a total of about $5.3 million to have lunch with Buffett two years in a row (2010 and 2011). Remarkably, Buffett ended up hiring Weschler to be one of two investment managers at Berkshire. He helps oversee the company’s currently portfolio and when Buffett eventually passes he’ll help oversee all of the company’s investments. However, Buffett says another hiring is unlikely.