OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Warren Buffett has already helped raise nearly $15 million over the years for a San Francisco homeless charity, and the group hopes someone will again be willing to pay more than $2 million for a private lunch with the Omaha, Neb., investor.
There are no guarantees someone will pay that much for a private audience with the billionaire chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.
But the auction has become a significant part of the Glide Foundation’s annual $17 million budget for helping the poor and homeless in San Francisco. Last year’s winner paid $3,456,789, and the winning bids have topped $2 million for the past five years.
Glide founder Rev. Cecil Williams said it would be incredible if the auction attracted another multimillion-dollar bid.
“What a life we would live, if the bids keep increasing,” Williams said.
Bidding for the lunch on eBay will begin at $25,000 on the evening of June 2 and continue through June 7. But the bids don’t typically reach astronomical levels until close to the end of the auction.
Buffett has said the bidding on the lunch auction, which is the only one he does all year, has surpassed anything he expected.
Buffett has supported Glide since his late first wife, Susan, introduced him to Williams because he’s been impressed with the way they go about helping 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,” Buffett said.
Williams said he is grateful for everything Buffett has done to help the charity he started 50 years ago, adding that his staff will continue to find ways to help the poor regardless of how much money the auction raises.
“We will continue the race, and we will continue the work,” Williams said.