Bidding kicked-off on eBay (EBAY) on Sunday with people vying for the opportunity to have lunch at Smith & Wollensky in New York City with billionaire investor icon Warren Buffett. The auction, which is only open to pre-qualified bidders, will run until 7:30 PDT on Friday, June 6.
Thirty-three bids have already been placed (as of 9:50 AM EDT Monday), with the current bid now standing at $350,300. The winning bidder will be able to take up to seven friends to the luncheon with the legendary CEO of Berkshire Hathaway ($BRK.A)($BRK.B).
Buffett has been doing the annual lunch for 15 years now, donating the proceeds to Glide, a San Francisco-based church charity that provides food, housing and social services under the mission “to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.” Buffett became involved with the organization through his first wife, the late Susie Buffett, who conceived the idea for the charity lunch.
“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent,” Buffett once said. Five years ago, Buffett partnered with Bill and Melinda Gates to form “The Giving Pledge,” a philanthropic organization predicated upon the rich committing to allocate wealth to help those not as fortunate.
Anyone thinking that they might want to peel off $400,000 and try and win the auction should think again as the price is likely going much, much higher. Over the years, the power lunch with Buffett has raised almost $16 million to help San Francisco residents in need. The opening bid for the eBay auction was $25,000, which happens to be the lowest price ever paid for the lunch, but that was in the early days before all the publicity and eBay hosting the bidding.
The winning bids have ranged from $25,000 to $3,456,789 (the winning bid in 2012). Last year’s winner paid $1,000,100 for the meal. Ted Weschler, who ended up being hired by Berkshire Hathaway as a portfolio manager, paid $2.626 million for the lunch with Buffett in 2010 and the same amount again in 2011 to win the auction. The last six auctions have raised an average of $2.25 million each.
Money is also raised in other ways as part of the auction outside of the bids. Smith & Wollensky pays $10,000 just to host the lunch at their restaurant. Additionally, eBay donates $1 for every view of this video up to $5,000:
So far, the YouTube video has been viewed over 1,600 times, so just be watching it, you’re doing a little part to help.
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