Warren Buffett Auction Wins Big for GLIDE
By: Sue Rosenstock
On June 8, hundreds of guests poured into LuLu Restaurant in San Francisco to celebrate the 13th Annual Warren Buffett Power Lunch Auction. This year marks the auction’s 10th anniversary on eBay. Through eBay Giving Works, this program has now raised more than $14.5M for San Francisco nonprofit GLIDE.
Reverend Cecil Williams, Janice Mirikitani, Rita Shimmin, Kristen G. Yamamoto and Reverend Karen Oliveto invited guests to “share the excitement as we watch and cheer the final countdown.”
Warren Buffett, 81, is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. His late wife, Susan, developed the Power Lunch auction in 2000 with GLIDE founders Williams and Mirikitani (pictured above). GLIDE is a San Francisco nonprofit whose mission is “to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.”
Guests were treated to inspiring live performances by the GLIDE Ensemble and the Change Band along with great house music by DJ King Most.
Buffett participated in the event via a prerecorded video message, telling guests: “Contribute some money and later on contribute more of yourself to GLIDE. You’ll change people’s lives. And congratulations for doing it.”
But, as we hit the one-minute mark, sitting tight at $1.2M, some of us began to wonder if we’d fall woefully short of the previous two years’ totals, each bringing in more than $2.6M. Hedge fund manager and humanitarian Ted Wechsler won both the 2010 and 2011 auctions, later exchanging his seat at the Power Lunch table for a seat at Berkshire Hathaway. With Ted potentially out of the picture this year, who would drive this home?
Guests started whispering about the bad economy, preparing for a disappointing outcome. With around 45 seconds to go, Reverend Williams stood at the podium, chanting “come on now, come on now,” his eyes cast upward, his hands clasped in prayer, when an almighty wave of joy seized the crowd. We gazed at the television monitor. $3,456.788. Then, two seconds later, $3,456.789. We had trounced last year’s total by more than 31 percent.
“Celebrate Good Times, Come On” started blaring on the speakers amid screaming, laughter, dancing and tears.
What an amazing success for a transformative nonprofit that Buffett has described as “maybe the most effective organization I’ve seen for people down on their luck. It takes people who have hit bottom and brings them back.”
The winning bidder’s name has not yet been disclosed. Stay tuned for further details.
Congratulations to the eBay Giving Works Team and our partners over at GLIDE. And a huge thank you to Warren Buffett for generously contributing his time and passion to help break the cycles of poverty.