Buffett Power Lunch Raises $19,000,100

An anonymous bidder paid a record-breaking $19,000,100 — nearly quadruple the 2019 record bid of $4.57 million — to enjoy a final power lunch with business magnate Warren Buffett and support the GLIDE Foundation in San Francisco, Calif.

The nicknamed “Oracle of Omaha,” Buffett turns 92 in August. He had announced this year as the grand finale of 21 years of his “Power of One” charity auction lunch in which he, the successful eBay bidder and up to seven guests share a meal at Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse in New York City at a time convenient to all.

All net proceeds of the auction, that started off with a $25,000 bid and attracted 43 bidders between June 12 and its 7:30 pm (PDT) closing time on June 17, go to the GLIDE Foundation. GLIDE has been the beneficiary of all the Buffett power lunch auctions since they were started in 2000 by Buffett’s now-deceased first wife Susie. It is a center for social justice that addresses racial disparities, poverty, housing and homelessness.

The annual power lunch auction has brought at least $53 million to GLIDE, according to the nonprofit’s website. This year’s “Power of One” event is the costliest item ever sold for charity on eBay.

The chairman and CEO of holding company Berkshire Hathaway also founded the Giving Pledge in 2010 with Bill Gates as a path to charitably distributing at least half their fortunes and to encourage other billionaires to do the same. The Giving Pledge has at least 230 signatories from 28 different countries.

The first lunch with Buffett sold for $25,000 in 2000. Winning bids escalated over the years, topping $1 million in 2008 and hitting a record high of nearly $4.6 million in 2019 before getting crushed by this year’s bid. Buffett did not offer lunches in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Warren Buffett’s friendship and generosity over the past 22 years have been invaluable in deepening GLIDE’s impact on the systems that drive poverty and inequity,” said GLIDE President & CEO Karen Hanrahan via a statement. “We are honored and deeply grateful for his unwavering support of GLIDE’s mission over the past two decades and his legacy will have a lasting positive impact on GLIDE and the clients we serve.”