Eva Longoria Tied to Charity Used to Pocket Millions

Eva Longoria
Despite her philanthropic work, Eva Longoria might be contributing to the negative side of Hollywood charity. Image via Instagram.


Eva Longoria has long used her celebrity status to support important causes. The Eva Longoria foundation supports women and children in the United States Latino community, and her namesake foundation is just one of the many she donates vital funds to charities annually. It’s her dedication to philanthropy that makes a recent charity scandal involving her friends all the more surprising.

Two close friends and philanthropic associates of actress Eva Longoria have used non-profit organizations to generate millions of dollars in business for for-profit entities that they also own. Longoria is very active in the political world as both a big donor for the Democratic Party and a part of the party’s outreach to Latino voters.

The Hollywood Reporter found that two close friends of Longoria, Maria Bravo and Alina Peralta had intertwined the operations of the Global Gift Foundation with their own event planning and advertising companies in ways that don’t pass the test for accountability. Experts around the world on non-profits say that the philanthropically active celebrities like Longoria need to have the responsibility to do research on the groups they give their name to.

Bravo and Peralta were very public saying that nearly all the money they raise goes to a good cause but, they are very silent on how their event-production company, MandA and their advertising company actually make profit.

“It’s all about transparency,” says Phil Buchanan, president of the Cambridge, Mass., based Center for Effective Philanthropy. “It’s hard to imagine how, if these people are in these leadership roles, they are contracting with a company they run—that is the very definition of a conflict of interest.”

The well-liked Longoria has her own production company and when she is not busy tending to her brand, she can be found either cozying up to her handsome boyfriend Jose Antonio Baston, 45-year-old president of Televisa (Latin America’s largest media company) or with her philanthropy guru Trevor Neilson.

Read an in-depth report of how celebrities and “philanthropeneurs” are creating a negative image for Hollywood charity in The Hollywood Reporter’s investigation.

News The Power of Giving

Conrad Prebys Gives Massive Donation to SDSU

Conrad Prebys Gives Massive Donation to SDSU
Local philanthropist Conrad Prebys recently gave $2.5 million to San Diego State University. / Image: via Instagram.

Last month Conrad Prebys, a generous philanthropist who is known for supporting the arts, as well as health and education sectors, gave a massive donation to San Diego State University (SDSU), his second donation to the institution in 2014. According to SDSU, “When Conrad Prebys gave San Diego State University a $20 million gift earlier this year to support student scholarships, it was only the beginning. Just 10 months later, Prebys and the university have announced a $2.5 million endowment to support a new faculty position in Bio-Medical research,” of where the funds will go.

One of SDSU’s areas of excellence is in viromics, which focuses on the genetics of viruses. Reportedly, the new faculty position will be filled by an expert in this field. “The Conrad Prebys Chair in Bio-Medical Research will be a newly created faculty position that will join SDSU’s world-class faculty researchers in the area of viromics, which takes a cross-disciplinary approach to learning more about bacteriophages and exploring their potential for medical usage,” explains Greg Block of the SDSU News Center.

The $20 million gift that Prebys bestowed upon SDSU back in February was the single largest donation that the university has ever received. The gift will make it possible to provide scholarships for 150 students annually. Although he is not a SDSU alumna, Prebys has often remarked that he feels very connected to the institution.

Conrad Presby
Conrad Prebys. / Image: via

“As one of our most distinguished community leaders, Conrad Prebys has, literally and figuratively, helped build San Diego from the ground up through his real estate development and his philanthropic support of our cultural, educational, and medical institutions,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman after Prebys presented the university with his first donation of 2014. “We are deeply grateful for this gift and Conrad’s profound commitment to our students and their futures,” he said.

The new position made possible by Prebys’s most recent donation is the largest endowed Chair in the history of SDSU. It is the university’s hope that this momentum will help SDSU become a top national public research university.

News Organizations

Sid Lee and the Movember Foundation Cohabitate in LA

movember no shave november mustache
Image: via Movember.

Two years after it’s first American opening in New York, advertising agency Sid Lee is arriving in Southern California with a new office named Sid Lee L.A. In a somewhat surprising move, the company has now embedded its employees in the office of the Movember Foundation.

As the New York Times remarks, “If, as the saying goes, advertising is a relationship business, an agency, Sid Lee, and one of its clients, the men’s health charity known as the Movember Foundation, have entered the cohabitation stage,” of the recent office merger. Reportedly, the agreement between the two companies calls not only for Sid Lee to share space with the foundation but also to consider the foundation’s office its home.

“We will be joining the Movember Foundation in the Culver City location as a partner, fully integrated in the space,” said Will Travis, chief executive of the Sid Lee USA division of Sid Lee. “We will be located there until further growth demands otherwise, and then the expansion may be together.”

Sid Lee is an international ad agency, with offices in New York, along with Amsterdam, Paris, Toronto and its Montreal headquarters. The office will work for the foundation pro bono, but has paying clients like Adidas, Facebook, Intel and 99 Cents Only Stores. Mr. Travis says the office will have a total of about 16-20 employees once it’s up and running.

“Part of the reason we’re doing what we’re doing now,” said Mark Fewell, senior vice president and head of market development for the foundation, who is based in Culver City, is that Sid Lee “offered to be a strategic resource for us not just in the U.S. but globally.” This collaboration is great for an organization like Movember that began in Australia and this year took place in more than 20 countries.

The Movember Foundation is one of the premier organiztions that addresses men’s health issues in a positive, groundbreaking way. Movember is part of a larger, charitable “moustache movement,” that has raised vital funds and awareness of health risks on behalf of men globally. Learn more here.

Organizations Profiles

Spooky Nonprofit Profile: Random Acts of Halloween

random acts of halloween

Holidays are a great time to take part in charitable initiatives; there are countless food drives at Thanksgiving, and tons of volunteer opportunities around Christmastime and New Year’s. But what about Halloween? This spooky and fun holiday often gets overlooked in terms of how to give it a philanthropic edge.

New York-based nonprofit Random Acts of Halloween is one organization that decided to make Halloween a much more charitable holiday. Since 2011, Random Acts of Halloween has been raising funds for underserved NYC charities and organizations by throwing an awesome Halloween party called the Hallows Eve Charity Costume Ball. Costumes, dancing, drinks, and charity? This budding nonprofit might have created the most enjoyable way to raise funds for worthy causes in the name of Halloween!

According to the organization’s mission, “We throw an awesome party once a year and donate all of the money we raise to otherwise unsuspecting and underserved New York City based charities and foundations. Our mission is to perform this random acts of kindness every year,” of its annual donations and work to spread kindness. Random Acts of Halloween uses the phrase “Party For Good” as a way to guide its annual event and to get New Yorkers excited about celebrating Halloween for a good cause.

In 2011, Random Acts of Halloween raised $2000 for a single charity, and since then, its fundraising efforts have improved significantly. Last year, the nonprofit raised $10,000 and was able to donate funds to five NYC-based charities. Random Acts of Halloween has supported causes that focus on LGBT issues, domestic violence, youth advocacy, homelessness, and people with disabilities. Tickets are still available for the organization’s 4th annual charity party, which is being held at a secret location in Chelsea. “The Witch’s Ball” might just be its most successful event to date.

For more information about Random Acts of Halloween, visit


Hillary Clinton Encourages Tech Companies to Give Back

Hillary Clinton
Image: Alan Freed

While speaking at Dreamforce 2014, a tech convention for cloud-based data management company SalesForce, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton focused on the ways tech companies can—and should—give back to their communities.

“What we have to be really focused on now is making sure that the benefits of technology to people’s lives outweigh the pitfalls,” said Clinton, adding that it was important that companies such as SalesForce are “creating more jobs, connecting up more families and communities, and expanding our horizons.”

SalesForce in particular has focused on charitable causes with their 1/1/1 model, which commits SalesForce to donating 1% of its time, products, and financial resources to humanitarian organizations. That’s meant $68 million in grants and 680,000 volunteer hours from staff for more than 23,000 nonprofits and schools around the world in the last 15 years.

These comments come at a time when companies at large, and particularly tech-oriented businesses, are cutting back on philanthropic giving. In 1986, corporations were giving 2.1% of profits to charity; by 2012, that percentage had dropped to 0.8%.

And though tech companies are generally doing well financially, many have still seen fit to take from their communities instead of giving back: Twitter negotiated $56 million in tax breaks from San Francisco to support its expansion, and Oracle convinced the city to use public funds to host America’s Cup race, which cost $11.5 million after dismal fundraising attempts fell short.

On the other hand, Google remains one of the most philanthropic US companies, donating $1.1 billion to charity in 2012—8.5% of its profits. However, most of these charitable donations go to international charities, begging the question of whether or not tech companies should be focusing more locally, or if all philanthropy is equally necessary.

In the wake of these events, Clinton’s Dreamforce speech encouraged industry leaders to fulfill what she described as their duty to use tech for social good, potentially kickstarting a new wave of philanthropic giving.

News Organizations

Global Citizen Festival Fights Poverty with Star Power

Global Citizen Festival

Last weekend, the Global Citizen Festival took over New York City’s Central Park for the third year in a row, wowing audiences with its star-studded lineup. The annual concert had many stars performing like No Doubt, Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The festival, drawing in an even larger audiences in its third year, brought 60,000 people to the Great Lawn.

Around six hours long, the show held speeches from charitable-foundation executives and videos from those suffering poverty. The festival is organized by the Global Poverty Project, which has a goal to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. All the performers donated their services.

Through a unique form of social activism, tickets could be earned by sending tweets, signing petitions, sending Facebook messages, along with several other methods. The concert also aired live for the first time on MSNBC. The Global Citizen Festival was designed to get people talking about important social issues like poverty, using social media, entertainment, and other contemporary outreach to do so.

Global Citizen Festival Obama

One of the speakers was the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon who declared, “Our world needs more solar power and wind power, but I believe in an even stronger source of energy: People power!” Among the celebrities in attendance last night, attendees included the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi; the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; and Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank.

“Change only takes place when and where there is action,” said Jay-Z in a statement. “I’m joining the 2014 Global Citizen Festival because I believe through actions, whether it be by raising awareness, getting involved or educating ourselves, the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 is possible.”

The festival coincided with the United Nations’ General Assembly meetings in order to amplify its message to global leaders. The World Bank estimates that 1.2 billion people still live in poverty.

Learn more about the annual Global Citizen Festival and the Global Poverty Project by visiting

News Organizations

Founder of ShelterBox Charged with Fraud

ShelterBox provides aid to those affected by disasters.

ShelterBox, a humanitarian organization that offers emergency shelter and supplies to victims of crisis, has recently been plagued with a bit of controversy. Tom Henderson, the founder of British-based ShelterBox, appeared before the City of London Magistrates’ Court last week after being charged with three counts of fraud and abuse of position. Henderson, who founded the Cornwall-based charity in 2000, left ShelterBox in July 2012.

Henderson is charged with several counts, each of them involving fraud. One count is fraud by abuse of position, in which he is alleged to have conspired with his son John Henderson. Another count alleges that he conspired with his son and Darren Gervis. The third count charges that Henderson misused an official ShelterBox credit card. In addition to these counts, John Henderson and Darren Gervis are also being charged with joint offenses. Gervis has also been charged with the theft of property, possession of a shotgun without a firearms certificate and possession of a firearm.

ShelterBoxTom Henderson is a former Royal navy diver and was arrested last June, less than a year after he left the charity. His fraud charges span five years, from 2007 to 2012. He is also facing allegations of attempting to steal 1,000 tens from the non-profit organization. Henderson was appointed OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2010 for his work and the charity, but these charges are making it clear that perhaps those honors weren’t so deserved, after all.

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter and vital aid to people affected by disaster worldwide. Before this controversial news broke about Henderson broke, the organization had a reputation for being incredibly influential and a key resource for victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises globally. “Since ShelterBox was founded,” its website explains, “we have responded to over 230 disasters in almost 90 different countries and provided emergency aid for well over one million people.”

Clearly, ShelterBox has a longstanding history of doing good. Hopefully Henderson’s trial and sentencing will not detract too heavily from the work this organization has done.

Images via Facebook.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Earns Top Cancer Hospital Prize with the Help of Vital Philanthropy

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center IMG: via Stanford.

News recently broke that for the first time in seven years, MD Anderson Cancer Center was bumped to the runner-up spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best hospitals. According to The Clinical Cancer Letter, “MD Anderson Cancer Center’s uninterrupted seven-year stretch as the top cancer hospital in the U.S. News & World Report rankings has come to an end. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has broken the spell of being the perpetual runner-up and moved to the lead.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s new title as best cancer center in the United States is somewhat unsurprising, given the recent oncological developments and innovations that have been made there. The cancer center has been regarded as one of the world’s premier medical institutions, and has garnered significant amounts of funding from donors who believe in its work and tireless mission to fight and treat cancer. Many major developments to the hospital’s facilities could not have been made without the generous donations of philanthropists.

Earlier this year, the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation donated an astounding gift of $100 million to the cancer center, which allowed for the formation of a division that utilizes advanced, cutting-edge technology. The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology (CMO) has allowed for groundbreaking advancements in cancer research and patient care. According to Inside Philanthropy, the $100 million gift is the largest donation the Kravis Foundation has made.

Earning the title of best cancer hospital is a true achievement for Memorial Sloan Kettering, and validates the important, tireless work it does. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering, the “CMO brings together researches with many different areas of expertise – including cancer biology, pathology, bioinformatics, and systems biology – to undertake a vast, translational research program,” of the broadened reach the Cancer Center has because of the new endeavors of the CMO.

Learn more about how Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center earned the title of best hospital by visiting the U.S. News and World Report Hospital Rankings.