I had the chance to sit down with one of the world famous charity auctioneers, Howie Schwartz.

For over two decades, Howie has operated Grandstand Sports & Memorabilia (GSM), and during that time he estimates he has raised over $100 million dollars that has gone to charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and The ALS Foundation, to name a few. Each year, Schwartz runs charitable fundraising programs for over 1,000 nonprofit organizations, offering the organizations this unique selling proposition: nobody he works for pays him. GSM covers all their own travel expenses and does not take money from any auction items provided by the charity. Schwartz is the industry’s leading auctioneer, requiring only a microphone and a stage. His unique personality, professionalism and passion for helping others comes through at every charity event that GSM is present at.

Intrigued by how someone gets into the auction business, I asked Howie to share his background. “I have been in the Sports & Entertainment Business since 1990. I started by selling Sports & Entertainment memorabilia reaching fans through publications such as The Sporting News, The National and others. In the late 1990s I became a professional auctioneer and created the FIRST charity auction company in the world by offering our Silent & LIVE auctioneer services for FREE to charities worldwide By the early 2000’s I had now become an expert in sports memorabilia and was a guest host on a weekly LIVE show with CNNfn -host Ali Velshi. Viewers were able to call in and ask “how much their collectible was worth.” Producers indicated it was the most-watched hour each week. I was then referred to in many other media outlets as the “go to” -the person on all things collectables In the early 2000s I also shifted focus to Grandstand to expand the Charity Auction Services division to offer much more than just sports- and entertainment memorabilia for VIP experiences and excursions. From Meet & Greets with world famous athletes such as Derek Jeter, Mark Messier, football legend Pelé, Mariano Rivera and the entire 1980 Miracle on Ice Hockey Team (which was our first exclusive in the year 2000), to Celebrity Chef Dinners and more. Tribune, with our FREE Silent & Live Auction coordination service as well as our AMAZING VIP experiences began to become the most sought after Charity Auction Services company in the US” Wow! It sounds very exciting to say the least.

Howie went on to share “In 2009, Grandstand signed Michael Phelps to an exclusive deal that included both autographed Olympic memorabilia as well as Phelps leading a swim clinic for kids, which was one of our most popular auction items that year. Parents bid a ton to have their son and/or daughter be in the pool learning strokes from the most decorated Olympian of all time.The highlight of the Swim Clinic Experience was not only the kids learning strokes from Michael Phelps, but every kid in the clinic also got to RACE Michael in an Olympic style race Fast forward to the present, Grandstand has become the #1 rated Charity Auction Services company in the US and was recently featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. We have also started doing auctions at conferences – letting the organizations CHOOSE which charity/charity they would like to support and add a philanthropic and fun component to their events. The participants love to bid on things both for themselves and for their children to get something fun and cool to take home to their loved ones. We travel across the country and also provide an auctioneer on our own dime.” So if a client in Seattle wants to use your services, do you pay for airfare, transportation, hotel, etc.? “Of course we do, and gladly. “

Since we all like celebrities and athletes, we like to hear about what causes are close to them and see their human side. “I have worked with Pelé, Phelps, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mark Messier, the entire 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey team, Annette Benning, many of the Sopranos Actors, to name a few. Most athletes and celebrities concentrate about child-related charities from providing opportunities in underserved communities to pediatric cancer and other diseases. Most people really give back and often we don’t hear about it because they want it to. It’s not a moment to look at me, it is something they do from their heart.”

Let’s talk about Aaron Judge for a second as I am a die hard Yankees fan and watch all the games including this last big one where he hit home run #62 broke a 61-year-old record when he broke his 62nd home run in a game against the Texas Rangers. Judge made history by breaking the American League record for single-season home runs held by Roger Maris since 1961. “Yes, that was a tremendous feat of Judge and like you I am also a true Yankees fan and am still extremely excited for him, the Yankees organization and the fans. We have several items that we bring to charity events – ALL of which are focused on HR #62 – signed balls, photos, bats, Ltd Ed memorabilia and much more.

We also have an interactive experience for next year where donors can catch HR balls hit by Yankees players (like Judge, assuming he re-signs with the Yanks) during batting practice.”

We know you are hosting a Meet & Greet on December 5th at Wallace Hall in Manhattan from 17.30 to 20.30. “Yes, Zach Wilson (NY Jets Quarterback) and Daniel Jones (NY Giants Quarterback) will be available for a fun and interactive experience with the fans. Guests will walk the red carpet, take photos with each player, receive an autographed photo and participate in a Q&A. There will be great food, open bar and videos. Children are welcome to attend as there is no age limit. Plus there will be an NFL legend who will be in attendance and join us for this special night.Fans can purchase tickets to attend and create memories that will last a lifetime. (212) 532-8900 x228.

Other events on tap? “Yes, we have a Sopranos Meet & Greet with Vincent Pastore aka “Big Pussy” and other Sopranos Stars on March 14, 2023, held at Tony’s DiNapoli in Midtown Manhattan. This will be another fun and interactive experience where guests will go on the red carpet, taking photos with the stars and participating in a special Q&A. I can’t forget to mention the delicious food and open bar, as Tony’s is truly a true authentic Italian restaurant with mouth-watering dishes.”

In a conversation with Howie, he said that he has worked with over 5,000 charities and has helped raise over 20 million annually for organizations worldwide. THIS service exists and GSM can increase your revenue by up to 5x as much as in previous years. Organizations may STILL bring their own items and receive 100% of the proceeds. Pretty impressive if you ask me and such a great way to give back and help charities raise additional funds!

(212) 532-8900 x228

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