Buffett to auction off one last private lunch for charity

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The world’s most expensive lunch will go on sale again this spring when investor Warren Buffett auctions off a private meal to raise money for a California homeless charity one last time.

Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, held the lunch auction once a year for 20 years before the pandemic began to raise money for the Glide Foundation, which helps the homeless in San Francisco. The auction has been on hiatus for the past two years, but Glide said Monday — a few days before thousands of shareholders are expected to gather at this week’s Berkshire annual meeting — that the event will be revived this year.

Every winning bid since 2008 has topped $1 million, and Buffett has raised nearly $34.5 million for the charity over the years.

Many of the past winners have been investors who revere Buffett for his remarkable track record of finding undervalues companies and stocks to buy for his Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate. But in the last auction, a cryptocurrency pioneer paid $4,567,888 in 2019 for the chance to dine with Buffett.

Buffett’s first wife, Susie, introduced him to Glide after she volunteered there. She died in 2004, but the connection endured.

Buffett has said he supports Glide because they help people in difficult situations find hope again in life. Glide provides meals, health care, job training, rehabilitation and housing support to the poor and homeless.

The 91-year-old billionaire didn’t immediately respond to questions about why he decided the end the auction after this year.

Glide’s President and CEO Karen Hanrahan said Buffett’s “friendship and generosity over the past 22 years have been invaluable” to the charity.

The weeklong eBay auction will begin June 12 with an opening bid of $25,000 and continue through June 17. The winner will get to bring up to seven people to eat with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in New York City. The only topic that’s off limits at the lunch is what Buffett might buy next.

Buffett’s company owns more than 90 companies including Geico insurance, BNSF railroad, several major utilities an an assortment of manufacturing and retail businesses. Berkshire Hathaway also has major investments in companies including Apple, Coca-Cola Co., American Express and Bank of America.

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