A bid of $3,300,100 won a private lunch with Warren Buffett in the 19th annual auction to benefit the Glide Foundation of San Francisco, about $620,000 more than last year but about $156,000 short of the record.
The winning donor wants to remain anonymous, at least initially, said Denise Lamott, a spokeswoman for Glide.
Last year’s winning bid was $2,679,001, and the record was $3,456,789, set in 2016. This year’s six bidders on eBay opened at $102,000 on Sunday, stalled at $3,200,100 on Wednesday, then bumped up another $100,000 in the auction’s final minutes Friday. Over the six days, the pre-qualified bidders made 136 bids.
Glide’s anti-poverty programs got the attention of Buffett’s late wife, Susan, who lived in San Francisco and donated money to such causes. She arranged the auction as a fundraiser for Glide before her death in 2004, and Buffett has continued the effort, which has raised about $30 million so far. Glide’s budget runs about $18 million a year.
The winning bidder can bring up to seven friends to lunch with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York City, although some winners have come to Omaha instead. The New York steakhouse and eBay also donate their services.
Among the past winners: Ted Weschler, who made the winning bid twice and, after visiting with Buffett in Omaha, went to work as one of the investment managers for Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the investment conglomerate Buffett heads. Weschler now manages more than $12 billion of Berkshire’s stock portfolio and helps oversee some of its operating businesses.