DJ Mike Pope also returns as the opening DJ for this year’s party.
A new element for this year is the expanded VIP section.
“Last year, our VIP section was too small and we missed an opportunity to really go all out for our patrons. This year, we’ve increased the capacity to be able to handle about 350 guests,” Loftis said.
Joining Hearts 23 Saturday, July 24 4-11 p.m. Piedmont Park Pool
“We moved it to the south wing of the beach house and are giving it a comfortable lounge-type of feel. Our VIPs will have much more air-conditioned space, a private staff with special guest hosts, gourmet catered food and tasty specialty cocktails by Grey Goose Vodka,” he says.
Loftis is also quick to add that although Joining Hearts is a favorite event on Atlanta’s gay party calendar, the focus is on the funds raised: 100 percent of every dollar raised through ticket sales and tips goes directly to AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House.
“The donations that we raise at this event and the other events that we do throughout the year are the most significant part of their budgets,” he notes.
Alex Wan, director of development for Jerusalem House, agrees.
“The funds that Joining Hearts provides to Jerusalem House provide the overwhelming majority of monies needed for maintenance on our two facilities,” he says. “These facilities house about 50 men, women and children. What they [Joining Hearts] do is absolutely critical to what we do.”
Jerusalem House is a non-profit charity that provides over 60 percent of the permanent supportive housing designated for Atlanta’s homeless and low-income population living with or directly affected by HIV/AIDS. This will be the 14th year that Jerusalem House will be a beneficiary of Joining Hearts.
Wan, also the Atlanta City Council member for District 6, has a long personal history with Joining Hearts as well.
“It was one of the first organizations that I ever volunteered for when I got back from college. It started me on the path of volunteerism and public service,” he says.
“They have really impacted other organizations in the GLBTQ community by demonstrating the potential that we all have to make an impact on our causes. They have been around for 23 years now,” he says. “Do you know how hard it is for a non-profit to keep going for that long and to be successful at it? They do a tremendous job.”
Joining Hearts also draws a tremendous crowd, so Loftis wants to remind people to buy their tickets early this year.
“Last year, we sold out on the day of the party and we reluctantly had to turn people away at the party. It was so disappointing for us and for them,” he says. Tickets are only available for purchase at www.JoiningHearts.org and, if there are any left, at the event itself. General admission tickets are $65 each and VIP tickets are $150.
Top photo: DJ Roland Belmares returns to spin for Joining Hearts 23, the annual benefit that raises funds for HIV housing. (Photo by Project Q Atlanta)