For another year, The Global Gift Foundation will return to the Gran Melia Don Pepe in Marbella to celebrate its annual Global Gift Gala. This year, the Gala will be celebrated on the night of the 4th of August with an array of performers and surprise celebrity guests. I-Marbella was honoured to interview the beautiful Maria Bravo from MandA Events, who is the main organiser and builder of Global Gift international platform.
Maria was born in Marbella, Spain. She studied business and because of her work, it took her to live all over the world including Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.Maria then spent time working in the Entertainment Industry producing and acting in Films and Television. After several years of making connections with the world’s most influential people, Maria decided she would use her connections and business sense to bring an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy, effecting positive changes in the world. In 2005, Maria started MandA Events, an event company which brings together celebrities, corporations, and charities to brand philanthropic fundraising events all over the world.
Celebrity clients that Maria works with closely include Eva Longoria, Rafa Marquez, Antonio Banderas, Tony Parker, Goldie Hawn, Deepak Chopra, Terrence Howard, Vicente Del Bosque, Mariah Carey, Leona Lewis, Hayden Christensen, Alec Baldwin and many more. She has accomplished branding some of the highest-profile celebrity events in the philanthropic world. The Noble Gift Gala in London, The Global Gift Gala (Marbella, Paris & Istanbul), The Starlite Gala in Marbella, Spain, The Par Coeur Gala in Paris, Playing for Hope in Los Angeles, Rally for Kids with Cancer in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Toronto, just to name a few… María defines herself as a “Philanthropreneur” and a “dot connector”. She brings together the worlds of philanthropy, celebrities, and corporations to give financial support and media awareness to fiscally responsible foundations through her branding events worldwide.
GLOBAL GIFT GALA Marbella
For yet another year, The Global Gift Foundation will be returning to the Gran Melia Don Pepe in Marbella to celebrate its annual Global Gift Gala. This year the Gala will be celebrated on the night of the 4th of August with an array of performers and surprise celebrity guests. From the success of the walk-a-thon event in 2012, the organizers at MandA Events have decided to once again extend activities by hosting a celebrity golf tournament that will be held in the La Quinta Golf Club on Saturday 3rd of August, creating yet again another philanthropic weekend. This philanthropic weekend will be for the benefit of The Global Gift Foundation, the Asociación Ser Humanos, Fundación SOS and a further foundation that we will be announcing shortly. In the next few weeks we will be publishing information on how to participate in both events.
1. How is this years Global Gift Gala different from last year? How has it grown over the year?
Its still the same that last year, we are maintaining the same platform. Only this year we are benefitting different foundations, besides Eva Longoria Foundation we benefit Global Gift Foundation, the Asociación Ser Humanos, Fundación SOS and also Vicente del Bosque is going to choose a foundation that we can help. Every year we try to give an opportunity to different local foundations and if we marry with one of them it wouldn’t be fair to the others, so we try to rotate. This is we will do four different foundations together with Eva.
2. This year instead of the Walkathon you are holding a Golf Tournament. Why did you make that change?
Yes, because we wanted to incorporate something sporty. Why golf, because most of the celebrities love playing golf, Eva Longoria and I play golf.
3. How have you managed to create all these events around the world?
Right now were trying to build an international platform. Now we are in seven different countries all over the world and do 12 events, including Global Gift Initiative Dinner, which is a more intimate and private gathering. We just did one in Mexico with Carlos Slim in his museum for 30 people. We create these Global Ambassadors around the world from all different society levels, and he is one of them. These are people who help and support us, either locally or internationally. We choose the people who have been with us from the beginning and have supported us to make these things happen. It takes a whole community to do these events, its a team work. Everybody’s input is so important, this is what makes this come alive.
4. You were born in Marbella, how did you end up organizing these high end events and galas. What does it take to get to where you are?
I was born in Malaga and raised in Marbella and Estepona. I went to America when I was 21 and I felt I wanted to make a difference. I started with acting, then also worked as a stock broker, but I wanted to do more. And I have always been volunteering in charities. Then at this one point in my life, when my first husband passed away, it was a crucial time when I had to decide what its is that want to do with my life. When I’m old I can look back at my life and see something I can be proud of and I have done something in my life. So I combined my passions, which were the entertainment world, the financial world and the charity. I put all of them together and created this platform Global Gift come alive.
5. To date the Global Gift Co (foundation) has donated €12.000.000 to help charities all over the world. 100% of these funds raised have been donated to charities, foundations and associations that have needed funding. Which charities have received help? Tell us about the foundation.
We always benefit Eva Longoria Foundations and local charities from all over the world. But 100% of funds received by Global Gift Foundation go directly to support other foundations dedicated to benefitting the lives of women and children, whether for causes such as health-related illnesses, education or human rights.
6. In your opinion who is a philanthropist and what are the characteristics of a philanthropist? To me, any act of generosity that goes to support another person in need or contribute to common good, however small the act, is an act of philanthropy. A lot of people have the wrong idea of what constitutes philanthropy.
I have always said that anyone can be a philanthropist, you don’t have to be a billionaire or a celebrity. You know sometimes even when you walk on the street and just giving a smile back to somebody who needs it, is an act of kindness and is giving back. That gesture of being kind to others makes you a philanthropist. Just be kind to other people. You really can make somebody’s day by just being kind.
7.How do you choose the philanthropist award winners? For example this year its David Beckham that receives it in Paris.
This year its going to be Ricky Martin. Basically we are trying to get a really high profile person, because it allows us to get more media attention, also sponsors for the event. But he or she has to be a philanthropist and give back. David Beckham has donated a lot of money, and this award is recognition for David’s work with the Malaria No More UK Leadership Council, UNICEF and his role as patron for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. We get some calls from PRs of the celebrities saying please give this award to my client. But we ask what has your client done as a philanthropist? We don’t care about the latest movie that somebody has done. This is not a PR channel for celebrities. The Global Gift Gala Philanthropist Award recognizes prominent figures who dedicate their time and energy to helping those in need.
8. Paris Gala is already SOLD OUT, are there still tickets for Marbella?
Yes, its totally sold out. Right now our offices are working on Cannes and Paris and as soon as we finish there, we start selling the tickets for Marbella. We can only put 280 people in Gran Melia Don Pepe. We have only two different tickets this years, the 1000eur ticket to sit with the VIPs and celebrities and 500eur tickets allow you to sit in a normal seating. And all the funds got to charities of course.
9. What are the future plans for Global Gift Platform?
In five years I really dream of this being in 25 countries and I would just oversee everything but hire companies to help us organize it locally.
10. You are so busy all the time, do you even have time for your private life? Where do you prefer to spend your free time?
In Marbella I don’t have much free time. But for me it’s important to find time for family and friends. On my free day I like to work out and I love cooking at home. I enjoy spending time with my parents in Marbella. In the US I usually go have lunch with my friends on a day off and maybe go have a pedicure and manicure. Pamper myself a little bit.
ABOUT GLOBAL GIFT
The Global Gift Foundation, established in 2013 by Maria Bravo and Alina Peralta, is a nonprofit organization focused on making a positive impact on the lives of children, women and families, by bringing together fiscally responsible organizations, resources, celebrities, people of influence and synchronistic brands to have a transformative global impact.
To affect positive change on the development, welfare, healthcare and social inclusion of the most vulnerable. The Foundation helps to provide shelter, food, clothing, education, medical attention and other life-changing necessities to vulnerable groups, in particular children and women in need.
100% of funds received by Global Gift Foundation go directly to support other foundations dedicated to benefitting the lives of women and children, whether for causes such as health-related illnesses, education or human rights. The Global Gift Foundation administers funds to partner charities and in particular, celebrates the work of small or unrecognized organizations through “Our Heroes” awards. These awards are given to organizations that can benefit from the strength of the Global Gift Co brand through donations, awareness raising and publicity generation.
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More info www.globalgiftco.org