Professor Stephen Hawking

Today we remember one of the world’s most eminent scientists and most recognisable faces, Professor Stephen Hawking, who died this morning at the age of 76.
Professor Hawking’s achievements are many and will be covered extensively over the coming days, but his support of charity is something that may slip under the radar.

Hawking lent his status as a world-famous figure to countless campaigns and charity initiatives; from setting up a foundation in his name (The Stephen Hawking Foundation), aimed at facilitating research into Cosmology, Astrophysics and Fundamental Particle Physics, as well as facilitating and supporting work relating to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and those living with the disease – a condition that Professor Hawking had lived with for more than 50 years.

Further charity work included everything from lending his name and voice to MND fundraising events, including a recent swim across the River Thames in London, to appearing as a guest speaker at charity conferences and of course his work on TV, including his memorable sketch on Comic Relief where celebrities auditioned to be his ‘new voice’.

Not only was Professor Hawking an inspiration in his professional life, but a great example of how someone with high public profile can make a real difference to charity campaigns and messages.

A life well lived.

Bitcoin donors

We seem to be in the midst of an existential crisis when it comes to our giving, bound up in a lot of ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ questions around our support.

The sector has been rocked by a wide range of issues, aired largely in the full gaze of the mainstream media which in turn has rocked public confidence.

Charities across the board are searching for ways to hold on to supporters, generate consistent income and show how donor money is being spent.

With a media focus on accountability dictating the public narrative at this time, it’s easy to forget that individuals making gestures is still at the core of charity giving and what keeps charities alive. It’s as simple as helping someone in need or who is less fortunate than you.

It’s Monday, so here is a really inspiring story of someone who, with terrific resources at their disposal, did something that will change lives for the better – an anonymous Bitcoin donor who gave millions away to charities.

We can’t all give millions to charities but we can all do our bit – support a charity when you can!

A Day With Maria Bravo

We had the pleasure of hosting Maria Bravo, Founder of the Global Gift Foundation and Global Gift Gala, for a day last week, as she and her team met with charities from across the UK, including a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital, who benefited from the Global Gift Gala London, held in November 2017.

The day began with an invitation only breakfast held in the luxurious and welcoming surroundings of the Devonshire Club in Central London. Maria spoke passionately about her love for philanthropy, her story and her continuing drive to make the world a better place. Charity representatives from across the sector were in attendance and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and conversation. There were representatives from mothers2mothers, MacMillan Cancer and many more.

Maria’s busy day continued as she and Nick Ede, EastofEden CEO and Global Gift Gala Ambassador travelled on to Great Ormond Street Hospital to visit patients who had benefited from the funds raised by from Global Gift Gala. It was a really moving experience for all involved and a great reminder of what all of the hard work goes towards – benefiting incredible causes and making a real difference to people’s lives.

A busy day that began in the early hours continued as Maria and her team moved on to Quaglinos, hosting a celebratory dinner for Global Gift Gala supporters, talent, charities and media. Guests including Jessica and Robert Pires, Karen Ruimey, Konnie Huq, Clare Merry, Ashley James and Charlotte de Carle  enjoyed delicious Absolut Elyx Global Gift Cocktails, a three course meal and speeches from a range of inspiring speakers, including Maria, Nick and Diana Award CEO – Tessy Ojo.

As a packed day came to an end, we can all look forward to another year of Global Gift Galas across the world, bringing glamour and talent together to benefit causes that really matter.

If you’d like to find out more about the Global Gift Gala and how you can get involved please visit or get in touch!

Global Gift Gala Dubai

The Global Gift Gala returned to Dubai for its fifth consecutive year on Thursday. The star-studded event was held in the Palazzo Versace in aid of Dubai Cares, Harmony House and victims of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

The Global Gift Gala is a unique international initiative from the Global Gift Foundation, a charity founded by Maria Bravo that is dedicated to philanthropic events worldwide; to help raise funds and make a difference towards children and women across the globe.

Guests were treated to performances of ‘Despacito’ from international star Luis Fonsi, a rousing rendition from Asian soprano Seia Lee, and a special performance from the Emirates Community Symphonic Orchestra. Those lucky enough to attend the sold-out event also enjoyed cuisine from two-star Michelin chef, Mansour Memarian.

The Global Gift Gala, presented and sponsored by CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel, Huda Beauty, and Cocobay Vietnam, hosted international stars such as Adrien Brody, Vanessa Williams, Luis Fonsi, and Alesha Dixon at the annual black-tie charity evening, with Tom Urquhart emceeing the event. The event as attended by stars and entrepreneurs including Founder, Maria Bravo and EastofEden’s very own Nick Ede, who is the worldwide ambassador of Global Gift Foundation.

Hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars was raised from the charity auction, with an artwork by famed British artist Sacha Jafri taking the highest bid and a painting from Adrien Brody, which sold for $42,000.

2017 is the ‘Year of Giving’ in the UAE, and in keeping with the motif 100% of funds raised during the Gala will go towards supporting programs in five different continents making it a truly global gala in partnership with Dubai Cares. Together with Global Gift Foundation, both entities will see projects in India (Harmony House), Europe, America and Asia benefitted, and a donation being made on behalf of Global Gift Foundation to Puerto Rico which was recently left devastated by Hurricane Maria, with 100% of proceeds going to charity.

Special awards were handed out to Vanessa Williams, Lucy Bruce, and Charlotte Knight for their philanthropic pursuits. British singer, model & TV presenter and Honorary Chair Alesha Dixon presented Vanessa Williams with The Global Gift Excellence Award for her continuous contribution to philanthropic causes, while Charlotte Knight was honoured with the Global Gift Philantropreneur Award, and Lucy Bruce was recognised for her work with Harmony House as the Global Gift Philanthropist Award.

A fabulous end to a year that has seen the Global Gift Gala and EastofEden travel everywhere from Edinburgh, to Dubai, London to Marbella.