Charity with Celebrity Ties Investigated by Hollywood Reporter for Conflicts of Interest, Misreported Numbers

Financial accounting

An exposé by The Hollywood Reporter took a look at big-name celebrity charities, examining one in particular that has ties to Hollywood actress Eva Longoria and other prominent public figures.

THR investigated the Global Gift enterprise, which hosts a series of celeb-filled galas. The company is run by Maria Bravo and Alina Peralta, who are longtime friends of Longoria.

Through their Global Gift Foundation, a non-profit the pair funded last year, they claim to raise money for other charities by hosting six annual events around the world in cities like Dubai, London, Paris, and Bravo’s home city of Marbella, Spain.

The Global Gift website lists other notable donors, such as David and Victoria Beckham, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, 50 Cent, Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda and other well-known celebrities.

Yet the company isn’t 100% transparent with how much they raise versus the amounts donated, according to THR, and the magazine raised several questions with the pair during their investigation.

For example, the most recent Global Gift Gala in Dubai on Dec. 14, 2014, cost $680 per ticket and featured a live auction that raised more than $400,000, according to the foundation. In total, the event should have made around $500,000 — an amount that Bravo and Peralta claim should have gone 100% to charity.

Yet documents turned over to THR by Bravo indicate that the event’s earnings only show $166,883 in donations to two Dubai charities.

In all, Bravo and Peralta have claimed in press releases that they have raised $19.5 million in donations for charities around the world. After promotional revenues are deducted, that figure should be around $17,739,205.

The two also said that they raised $3.4 million in 2013 alone, yet after THR’s inquiries, they then claimed that the amount was closer to $1,349,212 and cited a “communication error” in their reporting.

THR also raised concerns about the pair’s other enterprises, such as MandA, a for-profit event hosting company. Because MandA produces the events for the charity galas, THR alleges that this presents a clear conflict of interest surrounding the organization’s finances.

Bravo and Peralta also run a company called Global Gift Gala S.L. (Ltd.), which is also responsible for hosting the star-studded affairs and selling sponsorship and promotions.

Experts at the BBC recommend that people donate to causes that mean something to them personally. The organizations should also give the most “bang” for their buck to programs associated with those causes.

Examining charities online can help users find information on everything from celebrity-sponsored organizations to companies that give donations to Purple Heart veterans. Most organizations should be fairly transparent about their earnings, according to the article.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a celebrity charity has come under fire for misuse of funds. Board members for Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity took $3.8 million that was supposed to be used for a girls’ school in the country, and Wyclef Jean used $100,000 of funds from his Yele Haiti Foundation to pay for his performance at a benefit concert that he had organized.

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