More Than 1.3 Million Pesos Raised for New Vallarta Gay+ Community Center at First Fundraiser

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

The first-ever fundraiser for the new Puerto Vallarta Gay+ Community Center, held on Feb. 21, 2024, has raised an estimated more than 1.3 million pesos ($80,000 USD).

Two events were hosted and organized by Matt Karimi (left) and David Smith at Oasis Vallarta. Photo by Oscar Almeida
Two events were hosted and organized by Matt Karimi (left) and David Smith at Oasis Vallarta. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

While the totals raised are still being calculated and confirmed, the estimated amount shows how successful the two events were, hosted and organized by David Smith and Matt Karimi at Oasis Vallarta. 

Two events were hosted and organized by Matt Karimi and David Smith at Oasis Vallarta – The first event, a VIP reception (tickets were $17,000 pesos), was held at David and Matt’s home at Oasis Vallarta. The VIP event included entertainment with Jorge Lara, playing guitar as background music, hors d’oeuvres by Chef Wayne Elias from Daiquiri Dick’s on the beach and drinks by Chuck Suda & Andrei De La Puente of The Corner Bar.

The second event was held in the lobby of the Oasis building and cost $600 pesos to attend. The lobby event included entertainment by Branden and James.

A pledge challenge was issued by David and Matt during the lobby event – with David and Matt offering a $20,000 USD match – which prompted those in attendance to meet the challenge. One gentleman pledged $10,000 USD and another gave $5,000 USD, bringing the total just from the pledge to $47,000 USD.

“The community really came together and came out in support,” Smith said. “I was blown away by the generosity our goal when Matt and I came up with the idea was to raise $20,000 (USD) and never in our wildest dreams did we think we would raise over $80,000 (USD). What is really encouraging to me is that I know we barely scratched the surface of people that we know of in the community that we can tap into for future donations. This was just the beginning.”

Photos by Oscar Almeida:

Donations Surpassing Expectations

The Gay+ Center has already raised about $544,000 ($32,000 USD ) explained Mikel Alvarez, board treasurer. It had a goal of $1.7 million pesos ($100,000 USD) to raise over the next several months, but appears it will have met that initial fundraising goal early.

“It’s truly is wonderful that our community pulled together so quickly,” Alvarez said. “And while we have met our initial goal, I don’t want it to sound like that’s all we need. That initial amount was one we were hoping to achieve within the first few months to help us getting going and pay those operational expenses.”

The additional totals (when confirmed) bring the total amount raised since January to approximately $1,904,000 pesos ($112,000 USD) and will put the new organization in a safe position to start operations.

“We’ve received $16,000 USD from generous individuals and Broadway Cares has graciously donated $10,000 USD to help with our startup costs,” Alvarez said. “The Board has raised another $6,000 USD directly.” 

Alvarez said those “are actual numbers that I have physically received. Not pledges or promises.”

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS of New York, lead by Executive Director Tom Viola, (which had given almost $200,000 USD to SETAC over the last 10 years), has promised to give an additional matching gift of $340,000 pesos ($20,000 USD).

US Dollar Donations can be made through the Casa Jojo 501c3 (operated by La Catrina Cantina owners Bill Williams and Juan Alvarado Gonzalez) until the new non-profit is organized. Mexican Peso or Canadian Dollar donations can be made through the Vallarta Food Bank.

Another Fundraiser Set for March 1

If you missed this event, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in another fundraiser set for Friday, March  1, 2024.  

gay cruise for community center

Paul Crist, the owner of Hotel Mercurio and Mercurio Swimwear, is sponsoring a fundraising Cruise aboard a luxurious 48-foot yacht, gay owned and operated by Vallarta Yacht Rentals. 

The Sunset Cruise is three hours, includes a premium open bar and delectable light fare. There is a minimum $400 USD donation, all of which will go to support the new center. The cruise leaves from Pier H, Marina Vallarta, at 5:30 p.m. and returns at 8:30 p.m.

To donate and attend the cruise, you can donate online at Casa JoJo Foundation ( https://casajojofoundation.org ). Casa JoJo is a US 501(c)3 charitable organization offering tax deductibility for your contribution. PLEASE BE SURE TO NOTE IN THE COMMENT SPACE ON THE DONATION PAGE: SUNSET CRUISE FOR GAY+ CENTER. DM for details or questions: Paul Crist (Hotel Mercurio owner) via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp (+52) 322-294-1820.

The New Gay+ Community Center

The Gay+ Center was started by several local business leaders, and is currently housed inside ThrIVe IV and MedSpa and its initial focus is to offer vital services such as PrEP, PEP, DoxyPep, and STI testing, all aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of community members. The clinic started seeing patients around Jan. 15, 2024, and since then, staff have seen patients seeking PrEP.

The new board for the Vallarta Gay+ Community Center includes (left to rigth) Mikel Alvarez, treasurer, owner of ThrIVe IV and MedSpa; Javier Jimenez, board member, president of Vallarta Pride; Don Pickens, president, owner of Casa Cupula; Mike Owens, secretary, owner of Studs Bear Bar; Fer Bolaños Cruz, operations manager; Dr. Ashley Corina Hernández Castellón, medical director, and Jet De La Isla, communications, owner of Jet’s Adventures. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
The new board for the Vallarta Gay+ Community Center includes (left to rigth) Mikel Alvarez, treasurer, owner of ThrIVe IV and MedSpa; Javier Jimenez, board member, president of Vallarta Pride; Don Pickens, president, owner of Casa Cupula; Mike Owens, secretary, owner of Studs Bear Bar; Fer Bolaños Cruz, operations manager; Dr. Ashley Corina Hernández Castellón, medical director, and Jet De La Isla, communications, owner of Jet’s Adventures. Photo by Oscar Almeida. Staff include Fer Bolaños Cruz, operations manager and medical director, Dr. Ashley Corina Hernández Castellón.

Interim Board Members (interim until the new non-profit association is legally approved):

Don Pickens, president, owner of Casa Cupula
Mike Owens, secretary, owner of Studs Bear Bar
Jet De La Isla, communications, owner of Jet’s Adventures
Mikel Alvarez, treasurer, owner of ThrIVe IV and MedSpa
Javier Jimenez, board member, president of Vallarta Pride

Staff include Fer Bolaños (Fernando) Cruz, operations manager and medical director, Dr. Ashley Corina Hernández Castellón.

Photos by Oscar Almeida:

Related Stories:

Related Articles

spot_img

Stay Connected

18,548FansLike
7,798FollowersFollow
1,611FollowersFollow

PRINT ISSUE