Eva Longoria and Maria Bravo tell Tempus how their business-focused charity model has made the Global Gift Gala a success in London

By Michelle Johnson | 20 Nov 2017 | Culture

The actresses and founders of the Global Gift Gala tell us how their galas directly benefits their chosen charities – including Great Ormond Street Hospital

Eva Longoria hosted her eighth London Global Gift Gala on Saturday, joining co-founders Maria Bravo and Nick Ede at the London Corinthia to raise funds for the Global Gift Foundation, the Eva Longoria Foundation and Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Joined by celebrity friends including Victoria Beckham, Ronan Keating, Heather Smalls and Game of Thrones star John Bradley West.

Dame Joan Collins and singer Maxwell were both honoured by the Global Gift Foundation for their philanthropic work at the event, which also featured performances by Smalls and Japanese soprano Seia Lee. Generous donations by guests – including Tamara Ecclestone – raised money for GOSH projects to help children with cerebral palsy, breathing difficulties, and many other projects.

"I think it's a wonderful gala and does so much for really great causes, particularly children in hospital. I'm very happy to have been given an honour here tonight," Dame Joan told Tempus on the red carpet. Guests enjoyed a three-course meal courtesy of the London Corinthia, Mouton Cadet wine and Bering Ice vodka, followed by a silent auction. A major highlight was an unexpected donation by fashion designer Beckham, who spontaneously auctioned off her own custom-designed shoes and clutch bag for almost £20,000. >>

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* Singer Ronan Keating and wife Storm speaking to Tempus at the London Global Gift Gala [Photo: Colin Hart for Tempus]

Chatting exclusively to Tempus, Longoria and Bravo explained that the key to the Global Gift Gala's impact is their conscious decision to approach their charity work like a business. "The main thing we do is raise funds for charities all over the world," Longoria said. "We find fiscally responsible charities and we want to make sure they have the funding to do the good that they're doing and so because of that you do have to approach it with a business sense. How do we create a sustainable business model for them to continually get funds for their programmes? Tonight feels like a night of fun and celebrate, but it's a lot of hard work – but totally worth it."

"We run it like a business," agreed Bravo. "Tonight, before anybody goes inside of the gala, everything is paid for. That way 100% of what we raise goes to the foundation. We do endorsements with the brands so they will pay for the whole night." Those sponsors include Gyunel, Maupy, Cocobay, Playa Padre and JetSmarter – who offered free private jets flights as a special treat for any major donators. >>

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* Dame Joan Collins and Eva Longoria pose for cameras at the London Global Gift Gala [Photo: Colin Hart for Tempus]

For former Boyzone star Keating, who founded the Marie Keating Foundation and hosts the Emeralds & Ivy Ball, the Global Gift Gala is an inspiration for his own events. "It's a brilliant evening. This is our second time to be at the London GGG, we've been to Paris, and we had a co-event in Marbella a few weeks ago with Maria and the team, so we've got a great relationship with them. It's a hell of a cause," said Keating. "These guys never stop. Every other month they're doing event after event – it blows my mind."

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* Eva Longoria speaking to Tempus at the London Global Gift Gala [Photo: Colin Hart for Tempus]