Entrepreneurs

The top bid for lunch with Warren Buffett is more than $3.2 million — and the auction hasn’t closed yet

Warren Buffett
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Warren Buffett

Someone is willing to shell out more than $3 million to have lunch with billionaire investing legend Warren Buffett.

For the 19th year in a row, the octogenarian CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is auctioning off a lunch date to raise money for Glide, an anti-poverty organization in San Francisco, California.

As of Thursday at 1:15 p.m. EST, the top bid for the lunch was $3,200,100, according to the online auction, which is hosted by EBay for Charity. The auction closes at 7:30 p.m. PST/10:30 p.m. EST on Friday.

Over the years, Buffett's charity lunches have raised almost $26 million, according to information provided by EBay for Charity. (Including additional gifts donated after the auctions have closed, the event has raised $26.6 million.)

The winner can bring up to seven friends for the lunch at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York City.

The highest sum the lunch has fetched so far is $3,456,789. Anonymous bidders paid that exact sum both in 2012 and in 2016, according to a information provided by EBay for Charity. Bidding for the lunch starts at $25,000.

"Glide really takes people who have hit rock bottom and helps bring them back," says Buffett, in a written statement about the auction. "They've been doing it for decades. If I can help out by raising some money for them, then I enjoy doing it."

Glide is a church with an extensive charity outreach program, offering meals, access to health care and shelter, childcare and family services.

"We help the most marginalized become stable and lift themselves out of poverty, addiction and social isolation — regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background," says Karen Hanrahan, the president and CEO of Glide, in a written statement.

"Warren Buffett's generosity provides direct support to help the disenfranchised transform their lives. It allows GLIDE to remain a driving force for racial and economic equity in this city and beyond, and to reinforce our efforts to build legions of change agents," Hanrahan says.

Buffett learned about Glide church from his late wife, Susie Buffett.

"It is run by a very special man, Cecil Williams," Buffett told CNBC in 2017, referring to the Glide co-founder. "[Susie] took me there one time to Glide and I got to meet Cecil, I got to see what happened, the kind of people he was helping and how he was helping them.

"He helps the people that the world has given up on and he never gives up on anyone," said Buffett of Williams.

The charity lunch is not the only philanthropy work Buffett does. The billionaire investor, who is currently worth $83 billion according to Forbes, is the co-founder of The Giving Pledge with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The Giving Pledge encourages billionaires to commit to giving away more than half of their net worth.

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