olden Globe nominee, Screen Actors Guild Award winner, People’s Choice Award winner, Bambi Award winner, and ALMA Award winner Eva Longoria Parker stars as “Gabrielle Solis” on the ABC mega-hit “Desperate Housewives,” but the actress’ most important role is the one she plays off screen in her altruistic endeavors within the Hispanic and charitable communities. On the philanthropic front, she has been honored with countless awards for her achievements. She received the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts’ Horizon Award, presented each year to the individual or organization whose work most advances the presence of Latinos in television and/or film. At the 21st National Hispanic Women’s Conference, the Hispanic Women's Corporation awarded her the “Latina Visionary and Community Empowerment Award” for her contributions to the Latin community. The conference is the largest gathering of Latinas in the country and provides leadership and professional development to more than 2,000 participants, while raising funds for college scholarships. Longoria Parker was also the recipient of the 2006 NHLI Mujer/Chair Award, presented to her by the National Hispana Leadership Institute for her significant contributions to the empowerment and well being of the Hispanic community. The Larry King Cardiac Foundation, in partnership with the American Heart Association, also presented her with the “Corazones Unidos Award” for her philanthropic efforts. Longoria Parker was also honored with the “Hope of Los Angeles Award” by the mayor of Los Angeles, and most recently was honored with the “Cesar Chavez Legacy Award” by the Cesar Chavez Foundation. In addition, Longoria Parker was presented with the Leadership Award at the Latino Leaders Luncheon where she was the keynote speaker, and was also the keynote speaker at the Philanthropic Summit. Longoria Parker also donated a house to one of the victims of Katrina through the Oprah Angel Network, and donated her whole one episode salary of Desperate Housewives’ to Oprah’s new philanthropic TV show “The Big Give.” Longoria Parker was recently selected as a Presidential Commissioner of the National Museum of the American Latino by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Longoria Parker was also recently selected as one of 12 female celebrities, including Sienna Miller, Marcia Cross, Milla Jovovich, Emily Blunt, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, Andie MacDowell, Sienna Miller, Helen Hunt, Lauren Hutton, and Mira Sorvino to take part in the “Montblanc Signature for Good” charity initiative to benefit UNICEF’s battle against illiteracy. In addition, Longoria Parker most recently received “The Community Service Award” from the Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund.
Longoria Parker also has her own charities and organizations that are very close to her heart. She pours her free time energy and heart into philanthropic missions that make a difference in the Latino community. Longoria Parker serves as the national spokes person for PADRES Contra El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer), a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families. PADRES currently remain the only Latino program in the United States that is focused on addressing the needs of the entire family. It helps Latino families who have children with cancer by providing them with educational, financial, and language resources. The success of the unique and inclusive program model is premised upon a health and education curriculum designed to be culturally–relevant, family–centered and community–based. Longoria Parker first came to PADRES in 2003 where she began volunteering her time by visiting children with cancer while in the hospital and at PADRES family events. Since becoming spokesperson for the organization in 2005, Longoria Parker has personally contributed and helped raise over $4 million for the organization through her participation as chair of the PADRES’ annual fundraising gala “El Sueño de Esperanza,” and other special fundraising campaigns. In addition, Longoria Parker was the honorary chair for “Rally for Cancer,” an exclusive car rally in Los Angeles where up to forty-five luxury car owners each raised a minimum of $25,000 to enter their personal car giving them the chance to draft a Celebrity Navigator such as Longoria Parker. All money raised benefited PADRES and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As spokesperson for PADRES, Longoria Parker continues to raise significant dollars to expand the charity nationally; and she continues to volunteer with the organization locally, spending time with the children where her true passion lies.
In addition to PADRES, Longoria Parker works also with the Special Olympics and founded the non-profit organization “Eva’s Heroes,” which provides an after school program with an inclusive setting for individuals with developmental disabilities to interact, play, and grow with their typically developing peers, and also provides services to families such as counseling, parenting workshops, and sibling support groups. This September marked Eva’s Heroes third annual “Celebrity Golf Tournament” hosted by Longoria Parker and her husband Tony Parker and held in San Antonio, Texas. The event, emceed by 11-time world champion poker player Phil Hellmuth, was another huge success and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This past September marked the fourth consecutive year that she has both hosted and produced the National Council of La Raza ALMA Awards on ABC, which honors Latino artistic achievement in the television, film, and music industry. The NCLR is the largest Latino rights and advocacy organization. With her help, the ALMA Awards has earned its highest ratings since their inception and she continues to strive to make each year better than the next.
Together with her husband, Longoria Parker has taken an active role in Make-A-Wish France, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Most recently the couple hosted and organized the “Par Coeur Gala” in Paris that proved to be an integral fundraiser for the charity by permitting the association to continuously keep on granting wishes of a lifetime. The Gala honored the country’s First Lady, Carla Bruni, for her humanitarian work and Longoria Parker auctioned off a walk-on role on Desperate Housewives that sold for $50,000, making it one of the best Galas yet.
In addition, Longoria Parker is working as an executive producer in collaboration with Academy Award nominated Shine Global, a non-profit film production company dedicated to the elimination of child exploitation and abuse through the production of films that raise social awareness and effects political change, for the documentary film HARVEST. The film focuses on the plight of the estimated 500,000 child farm workers whose tireless efforts help feed America. HARVEST presents compelling stories of a select number of children and their families as they travel from their homes in California, Texas, and Florida to harvest crops in multiple states. The documentary presents the challenges these children face as they are unprotected by law; often working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in temperatures that can exceed 100 degrees, they suffer injury and exposure to pesticides. Now in post development, HARVEST was shot during the 2009 harvest season and is expected to be completed early this year.
As the international L’Oreal spokesperson, she is a strong supporter of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the leading independent, non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to advancing research, raising awareness and finding a cure. She is also involved with the Entertainment Industry Foundation/Callaway Golf Foundation, where she again raises awareness of ovarian cancer.
Longoria Parker currently works closely with the United Farm Workers, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and the National Council of La Raza. In addition, Longoria Parker was recently selected by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as an appointee to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. The National Museum will create a home for the historical artifacts, images, and personal stories documenting over 500 years of American Latino contributions to the United States.
Whether she is volunteering during presidential campaigns, engaging Latino voters, or working with one of her charities, Longoria proves that ambition really does go a long way.