Charity says Canadian investment firm paid US$1.68 million for lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett - Metro US

Charity says Canadian investment firm paid US$1.68 million for lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett

OMAHA, Neb. – A Canadian investment firm paid US$1.68 million in last month’s charity auction to win lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

The Glide Foundation, which receives all the auction proceeds, said Wednesday that Salida Capital, which is based in Toronto, won the auction.

Salida Capital CEO Courtenay Wolfe says the auction offered a unique opportunity to sit down with one of the world’s greatest investors.

Buffett annually auctions off a lunch to benefit Glide, which provides social services to San Francisco’s homeless and poor.

Salida Capital will be able to send a total of eight people for the lunch with Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive. The owners of the Smith&Wollensky restaurant in New York contributed $10,000 to Glide and will again host the lunch.

Wolfe said he plans to bring along a handful of his firm’s biggest supporters. Salida Capital is marking its tenth anniversary this year, and Wolfe said it has recovered well from last year’s difficult market, so the time seemed right to bid.

“Lunch with Warren Buffett is something we have always had on our ‘dream list,”‘ Wolfe said.

Glide’s founder, the Rev. Reverend Cecil Williams, said he is thankful for the support from both Salida Capital and Buffett.

“Glide is so fortunate that we were able to raise this amount of money which will help San Francisco’s poor and disenfranchised,” Williams said.

Buffett’s late first wife, Susan, introduced the billionaire investor to Williams and the Glide Foundation. Buffett has said he enjoys being able to help Glide with the lunch because he’s never found another charity more effective at lifting people out of despair.

Buffett is renowned for his investing success. The company owns more than 60 subsidiaries including insurance, furniture, clothing, jewelry and candy companies, restaurants, natural gas and corporate jet firms and has major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo&Co.

But Buffett is also known for his plan to gradually give most of his $36 billion fortune to five foundations over time. The biggest chunk of Buffett’s Berkshire stock will go to the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation.

Salida Capital’s bid is less than the record-setting $2.1 million bid that won last year. That 2008 bid on lunch with Buffett was the most expensive charity item eBay had ever sold.

Previously, the most expensive charity item ever sold on eBay was a letter from Democratic senators blasting conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for using the phrase “phoney soldiers” on his program. The letter signed by 41 senators sold for $2.1 million on eBay in October 2007.

The proceeds from Limbaugh’s auction went to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides scholarships to children of Marines or federal law enforcement personnel who were killed while serving their country. And he matched the bid.

On the Net:

Buffett Auction: www.GlideLunchWithWarrenBuffett.com

eBay: http://www.ebay.com

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com

Glide Foundation: http://www.glide.org

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