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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 22:50 GMT
How the other half give
Nobel laureate Al Gore
Guests pay 10,000 for a chat with Al Gore
With a star-studded guest list and a menu running to thousands of pounds per head, it is a far cry from the typical charity coffee morning.

But organisers hope the Fortune Forum summit's showbiz guests will help raise the profile of a number of good causes.

It's a programme designed to loosen the most bountiful of wallets.

First, hob-nobbing with Nobel prize winner Al Gore. Then, personal exhortations to donate to charity from Bob Geldof, actress Daryl Hannah, supermodel Lily Cole and - if the political situation permits - former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Fundraising costs

Lastly, singer Damien Rice serenaded the 400-strong crowd of super-rich - worth an estimated 100bn between them - at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The groups who stand to benefit will hope to raise more in one evening than an ordinary volunteer shaking tins in a High Street ever could in a lifetime.

THE GUEST LIST
Lily Cole
Al Gore, Nobel prize winner
Lily Cole, model
John Bon Jovi, rock star
Lily Allen, singer
Bob Geldof, singer and campaigner
Benazir Bhutto, politician
Christian Slater, actor
Daryl Hannah, actress
Sir David Frost, broadcaster
Jerry Hall, model
Damien Rice, singer
Bianca Jagger, campaigner
Marie Helvin, model
Yusuf Islam, singer (formerly Cat Stevens)
Lady Annabel Goldsmith, socialite
Zac Goldsmith, politician

But organisers of the Fortune Forum summit - specifically set up to raise cash from the wealthy and famous - hope to generate more than just cash.

Paul Hetherington, a spokesman for the event, says that he hopes the well-connected crowd will use their influence to spread the word about good causes.

"It's about educating these guests as much as it is about philanthropy," he adds.

"These are individuals that people listen to. You can't really put a value on having them onside."

At the last summit in 2006, attendees included Bill Clinton, Michael Douglas and Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man.

In total 808,067 was spent, half of which went on fundraising costs.

'Help the unfortunate'

The 2007 event carries a price tag that few bank balances could withstand.

A basic ticket will set you back 1,000. Then there is the 10,000 you will need to fork out if you want to mingle with Gore for half an hour in a special VIP area.

And guests can expect to part with 15,000 for individual "project lots" - specific schemes which are pitched by charities, Dragons Den-style, to the audience.

Jerry Hall
Charities will hope to persuade Jerry Hall to open her chequebook

Those charities which stand to benefit include the British Red Cross, Cancer Research, African Renaissance, Water Aid and clean energy promoters Ice Circle.

Renu Mehta, the ex-model who is Fortune Forum chief executive, has said the group "convenes the fortunate, who pledge to help the unfortunate".

She told the gathering: "We simply cannot continue to ignore our responsibility... and expect nature's bounty to continue to bless us.

"It is indeed a pleasure to be with so many powerful people who do not need to be convinced to care."

'Inspiration'

The evening opened with a video message from Prime Minister Gordon Brown in which he described Mr Gore as an "inspiration" and congratulated him on his Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr Brown said: "All of us must accept our share of responsibilities and work together to change... we must act now."

Mr Gore told the audience that Mr Brown had made an "eloquent" statement in the video.

He said: "I'm grateful for his leadership on the issues."

The forum's board includes the author Deepak Chopra, the Conservative candidate and former editor of the Ecologist, Zac Goldsmith and the former solicitor-general Lord Archer of Sandwell.

All will be anxious to see whether the combination of stardust and hard cash will be enough to make a difference.

SEE ALSO
Keeping up with the Hohnses
04 Dec 07 |  Magazine
Bob Geldof answers your questions
13 Jul 06 |  Business
Branson on wealth
26 Apr 06 |  Magazine
How to give away 51m
14 Dec 05 |  Magazine

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