Warren Buffett Passes the Baton on His Famed Lunch

The Glide Foundation will auction off a private lunch with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2024 3:00 AM CDT
New CEO Picked for Lunch Tradition Warren Buffett Started
In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks at a luncheon in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The California homeless charity that received $53 million over the years from investors who wanted a private lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett has found a new business executive to auction off a meal with. The Glide Foundation said Tuesday that it will hold an auction on eBay next month for a private lunch with Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. The San Francisco-based charity helps the homeless and those in poverty in the same city where Benioff oversees a software empire. Just as the Buffett auctions did, the weeklong Benioff lunch auction will begin May 5 with an opening bid of $25,000 and continue through May 10.

Organizers have their work cut out for them if they're attempting to match Buffett's record, reports the AP. Starting in 2008, every winning bid for lunch with the investing giant topped $1 million. The final auction of a lunch with Buffett two years ago attracted a record $19 million price that isn't likely to be matched. The revered investor has legions of devoted followers who fill an Omaha arena every spring at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting to listen to Buffett's insights, and he had said ahead of time that 2022 would be his last auction.

Still, Glide hopes that the Benioff auction will also raise significant funds to support the organization's $31 million budget, which provides meals, health care, job training, rehabilitation, and housing for the poor and homeless. Buffett's first wife, Susie, introduced him to Glide after she volunteered there following her move to the city, and she suggested starting the lunch auction in 2000. She died in 2004, but the connection endured.

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Benioff has urged his fellow CEOs to do more to help the homeless and remedy the inequalities in society that they helped create, and Buffett endorsed the new arrangement. "The baton is in the right hands with Marc Benioff," Buffett said. "He's going to do a wonderful job improving on what I did over the years." One past winner, Ted Weschler, received a job offer from Buffett's company after he spent nearly $5.3 million on two auctions in 2010 and 2011. Weschler now works as an investment manager for the conglomerate, which owns an eclectic assortment of companies including Geico insurance, BNSF railroad, See's Candy, several major utilities, and Dairy Queen.

(More Warren Buffett stories.)

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