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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Coppy Holzman, Co-Founder and CEO of Charitybuzz, Our Coverage Sponsored by The Giving Back Foundation

Coppy Holzman

The Giving Back Foundation, with operations in New York, London and Hong Kong, is a 501(c)(3) operation, with special emphasis on education and women and children in need. A documentary film, musical CD and coffee-table book are available from the Foundation, featuring vignettes and interviews with humanitarians such as Cherie Blair, Kerry Kennedy and her brother Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Hillary Clinton, Lord Loomba, Somers Farkas, Francine Le Frak, Bono, Donna Karan, Deborah Norville, Steven Rockefeller, Irish interior designer Clodagh, Mother Teresa’s Asha Daan and The American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry. Charities that inspire The Giving Back Foundation include many others in Hong Kong, Ireland, England, Africa, South America, India and the U.S.A. 100 percent of the proceeds of The Giving Back Foundation’s activities will be donated to charity. To donate to the Giving Back Foundation, please visit:
Meera Gandhi was interviewed herself as a Mover and Shaker years ago:
Her book launch in New York is on May 9th!  Don't miss it and buy her book:


Coppy Holzman is the co-founder and CEO of charitybuzz, the leading destination for luxury online charity auctions. Holzman has used his twenty-five years of experience as a senior level Internet, retail and consumer products executive to grow the charitybuzz brand to 110 countries, with more than 1,000 nonprofit partners and 60,000 affluent bidders around the world. Holzman’s “conscious capitalism” business model, coupled with a commitment to white-glove customer service and the most innovative technology, is helping to change the future of philanthropy.

Coppy Holzman founded charitybuzz in 2005 to lead nonprofits toward a new, collaborative era of fundraising. With the goal of harnessing technology and pop culture for good, he launched the charity auction web site out of his home in April 2005 with co-founders Serena Chew and Brad Reisner. He had only one rule: Do Good, Live Well. More than 1,000 online charity auctions later, charitybuzz has raised more than $60 million for nonprofits and has helped the world’s biggest celebrities, influencers and corporations give back to the causes they care about most.

Prior to launching charitybuzz, Mr. Holzman was one of the founding members of, where he defined the brand, helped raise capital and wrote and executed the business plan that ultimately resulted in the largest e-commerce launch in United States history. Under his leadership, following its initial IPO, webvan had a market cap exceeding $7 billion and raised almost $1 billion to finance its expansion plans. Holzman's responsibilities included all merchandising, buying and marketing activities including supervision of content management and all website publishing. He also spent many years in senior level corporate retail positions serving as Senior Vice President for Federated Department Stores responsible for Global Sourcing and Production as well as Merchandise Vice President for R.H. Macy for both apparel and home. 

Mr. Holzman has a B.S. in Economics and International Business from the Wharton School of Business. He has three very socially committed grown children. We are thrilled to present Coppy Holzman as our latest Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed him for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What was your first charitable endeavor in life and how did it affect you?
Coppy Holzman: As a teenager living in rural Western Pennsylvania, we helped pen pals (yes, this was pre-internet, pre-email) who lived in Indonesia. We raised money to allow them to stay in school and the monies were all sent via regular mail - again all pre-internet age. 

What should most people know about 501c3's that most do not know?
There are many fabulous organizations that do incredible work that need support. Instead of starting a new small 501(c)3 without structure and funding, donors should first look to existing organizations that are already making a significant and strategic impact.

Where did you come up with the idea of Charitybuzz?
I met President Clinton and Chevy Chase at a fundraiser in Westport, CT to benefit the Clinton Library. We talked about innovative ideas to raise funds, and I suggested auctioning off the very experience I was enjoying at that moment -- spending time with The President and the iconic comic star Chevy Chase. They immediately agreed. The rest, as they say, is history. Chevy reached out to his friend Bill Murray for a Caddyshack golf experience and another close friend, Sir Paul McCartney, jumped on board. Now, thousands of experiences later, we are still coming up with one-of-a-kind innovative meet-and-greets that create buzz and generate huge amounts of dollars for our non-profit partners. 

How did you come up with 60,000 bidders around the world?
We partner with non-profits and corporate clients to spread the buzz across all media channels including broadcast, radio, print, online and social media. Whether it’s the Today Show on television, Howard Stern on radio, The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine or Page Six in print, PerezHilton online, or a celebrity like Donald Trump or Lady Gaga tweeting, the media is quick to report on our one-of-a-kind, buzz-worthy experiences. Each week, our celebrity and corporate partners go on air or online to spread the word about visiting charitybuzz to bid on their packages. Once people register on our site, they become part of our community and receive other communication about the latest celebrity experiences offered online

What should everyone know about bidding online that most do not yet realize?
We have dozens of unique and one-of-a-kind experiences added virtually every day to, so we encourage bidders to visit often! 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
As a brand, Apple is continually innovating in the most intuitive and user-friendly manner and has had a profound impact on our simple yet sophisticated customer experience. We are blessed to work with the most incredible philanthropists on the planet, including well-known icons such as Ethel Kennedy or President Clinton, and we also interact daily with so many unsung heroes who raise tens of thousands for their individual non-profits. Anyone who does good and wants to make the world a better place is my hero!

What are you proudest of and why?
I am proudest of my charitybuzz family. They work tirelessly seven days a week to strategically innovate, using the latest technology coupled with white glove customer service so that charitybuzz becomes the leading community for social change and philanthropy today. When you visit our NYC offices, you can feel their enthusiasm and passion to innovate.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
We are just starting to make charitybuzz a household name. When shoppers throughout the world realize that it’s possible to pursue every dream experience while making a significant social impact, then I know that we will have succeeded in our mission to change how charity works today. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
In the past, I’ve been recognized as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, and Charitybuzz has been honored by Mashable as one of the “most influential social good champions” as well as one of the “must follow brands on social media.” However, the satisfaction of having raised $60 million for charity to date is our biggest award. 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
At home in my downtown loft with my family and loved ones.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
We just concluded a very successful event with John Varvatos, and I would have to say I am very partial to his Bowery John Varvatos shop -- formerly the very memorable location of CBGB. When I first saw Patty Smith at CBGB in the late 70s, I did not imagine that I would be shopping for upscale men's suits in the same location several decades later. The place has a soul and lots of memories.

What is your favorite drink?
Last night I had a Southampton Light Ale at The Standard Hotel sitting outside in the warm evening air and it sure was refreshing.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
Hmm. I think I will pass on this answer.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
I can be found quite often at The Coffee Shop in Union Square. Great food, casual atmosphere and the outdoor tables provide great entertainment and people watching.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
Jane Jacobs, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." In my next career, and I am completely serious, I want to be an urban planner and Jane Jacobs is a genius. 

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
When I go to play tennis it sure would be nice to become Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. If you are going to play and win, why not win big?!

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
It isn't so bad flying under the radar with nothing named after me. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Bike riding around the city is a true passion and with the warm weather upon us, it only gets better. I realize it is not so safe having music blaring with headphones in place, but it sure is fun.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Take the Staten Island ferry for a long bike ride. 

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
Thomas Jefferson would be the person whose intellect covers so many areas from politics to architecture to human liberty. He had a real passion and zest for life. A conversation with the third President would be incredible.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
Listening to Debbie Harry sing the blues at the IAC in their fabulous glass lobby, sitting beside Woody Allen in the mural filled Carlisle ball, or sitting at Radio City Music Hall listening to Aretha Franklin belting out R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
I am just getting started at charitybuzz so check back in a few years please

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
It is not my place to judge. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Charitable Peachy, of course!

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not? 
It's time to drink it- I will now. I guess I am overdue.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am just getting started. I feel as if I am twenty years old but being that my eldest son is almost thirty, I realize that is not possible.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Email is just fine: cholzman (at) charitybuzz (dot) com or visit and feel free to get my full contact info from the site.

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