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Marc Benioff lunch auction raises $1.5M for charity. Not bad for first year without Warren Buffett

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The $200,100 winning bid for a private lunch with software titan Marc Benioff might appear disappointing at first glance after years of multimillion-dollar bids for a private meal with investor Warren Buffett, but the winner also pledged to donate a total of $1.5 million to the California homeless charity that benefits from the auction.

The weeklong eBay auction that raises money for the Glide Foundation in San Francisco wrapped up Friday night. This is the first year that a meal with Benioff, who is Salesforce’s Chairman and CEO, was the prize after Buffett raised $53 million for Glide over more than two decades of lunches.

The winner of the Benioff auction chose to remain anonymous much like many of the winners of a steak lunch with Buffett over the years. The 93-year-old Buffett decided to make the 2022 auction his last one as he continued to cut back on his public appearances, but just last weekend Buffett, who leads the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, spent all day answering questions from thousands of his shareholders at the company’s legendary annual meeting. The final Buffett auction attracted $19 million.

The auction will still provide a boost to Glide, which provides meals, health care, job training, rehabilitation and housing for the poor and homeless, but it represents a small portion of the organization’s $31 million annual budget. Buffett became a fan of the charity after his first wife introduced him to it, and he always said he was impressed with the way Glide managed to give new hope to people in desperate situations.

The Buffett auctions started in 2000 and continued every year until the pandemic prompted a couple years off. Starting in 2008, every winning bid for lunch with the investing giant topped $1 million.

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Follow Josh Funk online at www.twitter.com/funkwrite and https://www.linkedin.com/in/funkwrite.

By JOSH FUNK
AP Business Writer

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