It’s that time of year! Awards season is about to be in full swing, but there is one event during the rush of galas, red carpets, and trophies that always stands out for its philanthropy: City Gala & Summit. This year’s event is being held Oscars weekend and hosted by Ashton Kutcher. Founder, Ryan Long, shares the details with us!
PPLA: Tell us about your background and what inspired you to create City Gala & Summit
RYAN: Thank you for asking. I grew up with a troubled and impoverished childhood. It was not easy, but I had a wonderful mother and grandfather who have always been figures in my life that inspired me. After struggling to find my calling, testing out the fitness, real estate, and nightclub industries, I eventually found that my mission was to “connect and contribute.” This is where the vision of City Gala came from and has become a central theme in my life- connecting inspiring, successful people and giving back to the community.
PPLA: How will this event differ from previous CITY events you’ve thrown in recent years?
RYAN: Every year, we change the landscape of the City Gala. Our goal is to make sure that our beneficiaries get enough funds and awareness for their organizations. And so, we change venues, speakers, honorees, and celebrity participants each year. Also, we aim for bigger venues and more participation. The key difference between previous City Gala events will be the growth and maturity of the event.
PPLA: Your event happens OSCARS weekend with host Ashton Kutcher. Why this timing and why did you choose to work with Ashton for this event?
RYAN: The goal of the event is to get as much exposure as possible. In my opinion, since there are a lot of celebrities and influential people that are already in town and looking for things to do it works out best for City’s beneficiaries to do the event on the weekend of the Oscar’s.
Ashton Kutcher is the perfect speaker this year. Not only is he a popular movie star. He’s become a huge business mogul. Ashton has been using his business and celebrity influence to shine a light on human trafficking. His efforts are heroic and so are his business accomplishments. He’s the perfect speaker for a socially conscious business acceleration experience.
PPLA: What’s the mission for the City Gala and where do you see it going over the next few years?
RYAN: The City Gala advances community through humanitarian activities and events. Our goal over the next five years is to impact 10 times as many lives for the better.
PPLA: What other celebrity honorees can we expect or can you share with us for the 2018 gala?
There’s always hundreds of celebrities that come to the City Gala because of the celebrity poker tournament, large press / media red carpet, but I won’t be able to share the honorees and the full line up of speakers until we confirm them 100%. Stay tuned! Your fans will be among the first to know.
PPLA: How do you see entrepreneurship and philanthropy as being tied together? How will they make a difference in the world?
RYAN: Philanthropists and entrepreneurs are the “problem solvers” of the world. As an entrepreneur, I innovate ways to solve problems for a profit. As a philanthropist, I look for people that I can give money to that are solving issues without an expected monetary return on investment. And the big difference that we make in the world is to give people hope and make sure that our civic duties / community / and families are strong. Adversity is going to be thrown our way no matter what… but suffering is a choice. And we choose to end suffering.
PPLA: If you could get one message across from this event, what would it be?
RYAN: The message would be that we rise by lifting others. Zig Ziglar said that we can have everything that we want in this world if we’ll only help enough other people get what they want. 🙂
PPLA: What’s up next for Ryan Long?
I’m going to expand the Summit. We’re going to do more Summit’s around the country and around the world. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of this world’s leaders.
Connect with Ryan and City Gala: