Join Jen in this special BONUS episode of Success to Significance with guest Donna Shephard, founder of Global Unity Foundation. Listen along as Donna shares her passion for helping entrepreneurs and nonprofits through fundraising charities and the Global Unity New Year’s Eve Summit & Gala on December 31st!
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Helping Nonprofits and Entrepreneurs through Charity with Donna Shepard
Hi there. Welcome back to this episode. I am delighted to bring on our guest today, Donna Shephard. She is the co-founder of Global Unity Foundation, um that I cannot wait to tell you all about. And this is a very, very special podcast, um, for many reasons. And, um, number one, That, uh, her son, Ryan Long, who is the co-founder of Global Unity, uh, I have known for several years and had the wonderful privilege of touring with him across the United States in a variety of, um, what was called, um, oh gosh, I just lost it.
Um, city Summits. City Summits. And they all rolled up into a pa a, uh, a big gala in, um, the big annual gala right, that we had. Um, wonderfully privileged to be able to be on stage for that and, you know, meet Ryan and hang out with Ryan for, you know, years and years. And so, um, the reason that we’re doing this particular, uh, episode is because there’s a very, very important event coming up, uh, December 31st in Yep.
On New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles. And, uh, I wanted Donna to have the opportunity to share this beautiful event that is, uh, big for charity. Uh, a great opportunity to meet and see some celebrities. Um, just have a wonderful time with some great people. So, Donna, welcome to Success To Significance.
We’re happy to have you here.
Well, thank you. Thank you for having me.
Yeah, I’m excited. So let’s, let’s go backward just a little bit, you know, and talk about City Summit and City Gala. Um, you know, cuz it hasn’t been around for a couple of years. Um, maybe give us some background on it. You know, Ryan and his story and why he wanted, and was so compelled to put this together cuz I know his heart was just so big.
Tell us a little about Ryan and how this all came together.
Well, Ryan, uh, he was in the showcase business before where he was promoting, um, New artists that wanted to, you know, make it big in the, in the, uh, recording world. And he came across some people that got him interested in charities and fundraising for charities because, and that’s kind of always been Ryan’s, um, Niche or something.
He’s a great, he was a great promoter, and so they told, they talked him into starting with the charities, and once he got involved with promoting and, and you know, fundraising for charities, he saw what a great cause it was to help, uh, entrepreneurs and nonprofits. And I actually have the same passion for entrepreneurs and nonprofits because I believe, They’re very valuable.
Well, we are all valuable, but the entrepreneurs bring value is they are the movers and thinkers, and they are the ones that advance our world forward. And the nonprofits are also entrepreneurs, but what they do is they take care of us. They love us. And at this point in time, I think we need that love that the nonprofits provide.
And that is what Ryan saw. And so he got more involved, and he decided to establish his own companies that promoted this and shined a light that is actually his motto, which was, we’re caring forward. It’s shining a light on the world’s global Grand Challenge. And, um, he created the city summit to, uh, help coach entrepreneurs, uh, teach them how to be successful in their businesses and also brought attention to them.
Uh, the, uh, gala, the City Gala was created as like a culmination of a whole year’s worth of summits. So bringing it all together and turning it into a big fundraiser, uh, to raise funds for the nonprofits and the entrepreneurs to help assist them in advancing themselves. And he decided to bring celebrities in. So the celebrity portion comes in where?
He noticed about all the paparazzi that followed these A-list stars, like Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, uh, many, several. He’s got several. You can visit our website and see some of the pictures of all these. Yes, yes. And uh, so the gala raised funds for global Unity. Ryan’s nonprofit, and this is what I’m carrying forward, is the nonprofit.
And what the nonprofit does Global Unity is sponsor and help other nonprofits. So we’re like a networking entity and shine a light on other nonprofits, which are also listed on our website. Some of them are listed there, and entrepreneurs continue the advancement of entrepreneurs and nonprofits.
Yeah. Well, I love that. And you know, so when he first started out, where, what was he drawn to? What charity was he drawn to that really brought him into this world? You know, I, you mentioned that he had, you know, a great, a great spirit for charitable giving and, you know, volunteering and helping others. But what what was the first charity that he was drawn into?
Well, uh, there was a charity that worked with the inner city children, and I can’t exactly think of the name of the charity, but it was something with the city, and that’s actually where City Gala came from, is because he threw a gala for this person that was, Trying to raise funds to help the inner city children in Los Angeles.
So that’s kind of where City Gala came from. And then it segued into Feed a Billion and many others. And, and so these charities that Ryan wanted to raise funds for also had celebrities attached them, like Ashton Kutcher with Feed A Billion. And so he started bring, getting involved with these celebrities that are attached to these various nonprofits and, and had them, you know, come to his events and of course, brought the media as well. And so anyway, that, that was kind of how that got started.
Yeah. I’m glad I asked that question because I, I, it was funny when I first started getting involved with City Summit; I was like, why is it called this? It’s kind of a funny name.
And, you know, I couldn’t quite understand it. And I actually thought it was because while we’re just going from city to city, We’re, we’re doing a summit. So I love that I asked that question to be able to find out really where that came from because that’s, you know, that’s so Ryan and, um, you know, and so let’s talk about, um, what we, what we really don’t wanna spend a lot of time on.
But unfortunately, Ryan passed away a few years ago in a terrible car accident. And, um, and so there was just a lot of scurrying around of what’s gonna happen with City Summit, what’s gonna happen with City Gala. Um, and next thing I know, There’s a big, beautiful event that’s gonna be happening this year.
So tell us how that path has been for you personally, you know, in putting this together and and revitalizing this dream that he had. And I know you’ve been part of the, as a co-founder, of course, you’ve been part of it for a long time, but, you know, revitalizing this. What has it done for you personally, you know, to be able to put this event back on?
Knowing that it’s gonna be helping entrepreneurs and, you know, charitable, uh, organizations.
Well,, I also strongly believe in Ryan’s causes as well the, the entrepreneurs and the nonprofits. I, hon, I honestly do. We believe it is a good cause and we need to keep that going. And, uh, Ryan’s heart was very in, you know, to continue to help these people.
And, you know, I’ve met so many, you know, previously, I was more really on the perimeter. You know I, I, I attended many of his events. And um, you know, but now I’ve been actually, you know, one-on-one meeting them and what a wonderful network of people he has, you know, put together and, and has following him.
And, you know, I just don’t; I, I wanna continue to help them and be a part of their lives and see what we can do to advance this and continue to shine that light on them. And, um, it has it, you know, during the covid lockdown. It was a struggle. Um, you know, I did try things. California was in lockdown, was one of the longest states lockdown, and at the beginning of the year, I did try to do something in Florida cuz they were open and, um, you know, just, it was a struggle, and it just, it was, everybody was doing stuff there.
So, uh, I couldn’t get a venue. So I brought it back to California. Yeah. And I brought it back to the San Fernando Valley. You know, Ryan and I are valley people. He’s a valley, he was a valley boy, and I’m a valley girl. Born and raised in the valley of. Anybody a little bit older remembers that too.
Listen to the Full Episode HERE
Get to know Donna Shephard:
Donna is Ryan Long’s mother and brings to the table many years of professional experience specializing in ASI Relational Marketing. She has a unique ability to quickly connect with customers/Team Members and determine what their needs are, even if they’re having trouble communicating them.
Donna has enjoyed 20 years of successful sales & marketing in the promotional product industry & has traveled all across the US teaching & training Sales Executives on how to increase their business utilizing promotional products.
“I have traveled to all 50 United States & we have a beautiful country, but what really makes our country great are the people!”
Connect with Donna on LN
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