eBay Auction for Power Lunch with Warren Buffett Sets Record, Benefits Charity

By: eBay Inc. Staff

The winning sale of more than $2.6 million goes to San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church

Giving new meaning to the term “power lunch,” eBay has just concluded its annual auction of a lunch date with legendary investor Warren Buffett. All of the sales proceeds from the auction, which was held from June 5 to 10, benefit San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church.

The anonymous top bidder won with a bid of $2,345,678 on eBay, and later pledged an additional amount directly to Glide in order to bring the total sale to $2,626,41, $100 more than last year's winning bid on eBay. There were 62,000 page views for the auction listing, and eight total bids.

Glide founders Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani joined eBay executives and GLIDE supporters in observing the final moments of the auction.

Buffett, 80, is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and one of the world’s most successful and widely followed investors. News of the eBay auction results for lunch has appeared in many major media outlets, with Reuters taking note of Buffett’s fondness for red meat and steakhouses.

You can view details of the auction here, and the lunch will take place at New York’s Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Alan Stillman, founder of Smith & Wollensky, has generously agreed to donate $10,000 to Glide for the privilege of hosting the lunch.

Celebrity auctions that benefit charities are nothing new on eBay. In fact, they’re an important part of eBay’s business. In addition to enabling direct donations and the selling and buying of thousands of items that benefit nonprofits, eBay hosts many high-profile, celebrity charity auctions.

Throughout the holiday fundraising campaign in 2010, celebrity auctions raised $194,633 for charity on eBay, 105 percent more than during the same season in 2009. A few auction items that raised the most funds for nonprofits in all of 2010 included:

  • Celebrity Twitter mentions and followings, auctioned off by TwitChange.com — winner of Mashable’s most creative social good campaign in 2010 — with the help of celebrities like Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber, raised $540,631 in less than one week for aHomeInHaiti.org.
  • TV star Ellen DeGeneres also recently auctioned a lock of Justin Bieber’s hair on eBay for more than $40,000, with all proceeds going to The Gentle Barn Foundation.
  • Memorabilia and props from the Nicaragua season of “Survivor” raised $250,000, benefitting The Serpentine Project and Operation Smile.
  • Items from Oprah Winfrey’s wardrobe raised $150,000 for The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation.

This year’s lunch auction was Warren Buffett’s 12th annual charitable auction, which have raised nearly $9 million for Glide’s programs and serve San Francisco’s neediest residents.  The auction was handled through eBay Giving Works, focused on sustainable models for donations to charities and nonprofits.