Win a lunch date with Warren Buffett

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A chance to score a coveted lunch date with billionaire and influential investor Warren Buffett is back.

The annual online charity auction to dine with the Oracle of Omaha, which began Sunday evening and concludes Friday night on eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500), requires bidders to pre-qualify and shell out a minimum of $25,000.

So far, there aren't any bids, but it's still early. The auction typically draws a majority of bids in the final days of the auction, according to Chris Noble, chief executive of Kompolt, which manages the auction.

The winner and seven friends get to pick the brain of the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, Fortune 500) over a steak lunch in Manhattan at Smith & Wollensky, which picks up the tab and donates funds to host the event each year. Last year, Smith & Wollensky increased its donation to $25,000 from $10,000.

Winners are typically from the financial world, but sometimes bring their spouses or children to join the conversation, and most keep in touch with Buffett following the lunch.

"In every one of them, I have met interesting people and gotten more than my time's worth out of doing it," Buffett told CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow. "The spirit has been wonderful."

Last year's winner, Courtenay Wolfe, president and chief executive of Canadian hedge fund Salida Capital, topped 116 bids with $1.68 million to lunch with Buffett for about three hours in February. In 2008, Zhao Danyang, manager of Hong Kong-based Pure Heart Asset Management, coughed up $2.11 million, the highest price paid for a charity item sold on eBay.

The proceeds benefit Glide Foundation, which fights poverty and homelessness in San Francisco and was introduced to Buffett by his first wife, Susan Buffett, who died in 2004.

The previous auctions for lunch with Buffett have collectively raised more than $6 million for the non-profit.

--CNNMoney.com anchor Poppy Harlow contributed to this report.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,919.59 80.85 0.48%
Nasdaq 4,527.51 19.20 0.43%
S&P 500 1,981.60 9.86 0.50%
Treasuries 2.41 0.02 0.75%
Data as of 6:48am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 100.53 1.37 1.38%
Bank of America Corp... 15.45 0.00 0.00%
Intel Corp 34.34 -0.07 -0.20%
Microsoft Corp 45.33 0.50 1.12%
Facebook Inc 75.29 0.70 0.93%
Data as of Aug 19

Sections

Beer sales in Russia are losing their fizz as the economy grinds to a halt, hurting Western brewers such as Carlsberg. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

When hairdresser Mark Bustos isn't cutting the hair of fashion designers and real estate moguls, he's traveling around the world giving free haircuts to the homeless. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.