It was a night filled with excitement at the Eva Longoria Foundation’s 7th Annual Gala dinner.
Golden Globe-nominated actress and Screen Actors Guild and ALMA Award-winning actress, producer, director, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Eva Longoria has spent the last six years making a difference in the Latinx community with the Eva Longoria Foundation (ELF).
Her foundation aims to bring people together to empower Latinas to reach their full potential by providing resources to succeed in school and business.
It works to improve their lives, empower their communities and shape the national conversation about leveling the playing field for minority girls and women.
For the last six years, the foundation has invested more than three million dollars and reached more than 23,000 women and girls through programs designed to help Latinas succeed with a variety of programs – from math and science education for middle school Latinas and college scholarships for first-generation students to microloans for Latina small business owners.
On Thursday (November 8), celebrities gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for the foundation’s 7th Annual Gala – and to honor two trailblazing stars who have done amazing work for the community.
Guardians of The Galaxy star Zoe Saldana was honored with its first-ever “Latina Visibility Award,” highlighting Zoe’s work to represent and amplify the diverse and meaningful stories of the Latinx community. Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez became the first-ever recipient of the “Latina Leadership Award,” for her work to inspire the next generation of Latina leaders through her activism and advocacy.
Mario Lopez was the night’s emcee, and introduced the founder to the stage.
Eva spoke about the foundation’s important and culturally-relevant programs that reach girls facing education inequality, economic barriers, and prejudice. The ELF founder herself presented the award to Zoe and Rosario Dawson presented the award to Gina.
Eva also had some exciting news to share. Welcoming Corie Barry, Chief Finance Officer and Strategic Transformation Officer for BEST BUY Co. Inc., she announced that ELF and BEST BUY will partner to open a new ‘Teen Tech Center’ in El Paso, Texas in late 2019 – a center that will give youth access to technology, mentorship, and exposure to careers in tech.
Other highlights of the evening’s events were firsthand accounts of ELF’s effective work to help Latinas close the opportunity gap in education and employment. Among the speakers were two 7th graders, Brandy Mones and Valeria Aguirre, who are junior mentors in ELF’s Los Angeles STEM education program.
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Overjoyed with last night’s 7th annual #DinnerWithEva to celebrate the @evalongoriafoundation and our work to empower Latinas! Last night wouldn’t have been possible without @bestbuy , @collegetrack , @target and all of our supporters who believe in the power and potential of Latinas. Special thank you to @fslosangeles for helping us host this amazing event. Together, we’re building a brighter future!
They spoke about their work helping the younger girls in the program learn about coding, robotics and more.
Itzayana Felipe, an ELF scholarship recipient and first-generation Latina college student also took to the stage.
A daughter of immigrants, she is currently a USC School of Architecture student, and she shared how the ELF scholarship has helped her cover the numerous school-related expenses that can pose an overwhelming financial burden for first-generation students.
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Meet our #familia and the future of our country: Itzayana, Brandy and Valeria. These three are the definition of #PhenomenallyLatina. 🎉 At our annual celebration last week, Itzayana shared her powerful experience as an #ELFScholar and a first-gen student at @USCedu. 👩🏻🏫7th graders Brandy and Valeria proved to us why they could be the next generation’s #STEM leaders. 👩🏻🔬Thank you all for inspiring Latinas to dream big and build a brighter future together! ❤️ #DinnerWithEva
Other celebrities at the star-studded event were Olivia Munn, Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) & Rebecca Crews (Singer), Miguel (Singer), Karla Souza (How to Get Away with Murder), Roselyn Sanchez (Grand Hotel), Mario Lopez, Bryan Craig (Grand Hotel), Guillermo Diaz (Scandal), Carla Jimenez (The Mick), Chris Warren (Grand Hotel), Amaury Nolasco (Telenovela), Andrea Navedo (Jane the Virgin), Gloria Calderon Kellet (One Day at a Time), Denyse Tontz (Grand Hotel), Edy Ganem (Devious Maids), Isabella Gomez (One Day at a Time), Eduardo Verastegui (Little Boy), Katherine Castro (MAMBA), Lisa Vidal (Being Mary Jane), Maria Canals-Barrera (Cristela), Shalim Ortiz (Grand Hotel), Jose Moreno Brooks (Telenovela), Thomas Barbusca (The Mick), Lincoln Younes (Grand Hotel), Alex Meneses (Telenovela), and Jaime Camil (Jane the Virgin).