LGBTI community donates funds to Gauteng charity through Conversations JHB events


Lloyd Loots (PandaCrew), Barry Swart (PandaCrew), Andrew Howard (Conversations Jhb), Jannes Erasmus (PandaCrew)

A Gauteng-based charity supporting and uplifting people and communities in need has received a financial boost, thanks to an LGBTI fundraising initiative in Johannesburg.

Representatives from PandaCrew attended the Conversations JHB event on 16 November at the Crowne Plaza in Rosebank to take receipt of a cheque for R25,303.

Conversations JHB, launched in November 2014, is a monthly networking event for gay and lesbian professionals living and working in and around the City of Gold.

To date, there have been 21 highly successful events hosted in upmarket hotels and bars stretching from Bryanston to Braamfontein. There is also a Conversations in Cape Town, which first took place in October 2013.

As well as facilitating face-to-face conversations between gay and lesbian professionals, be it for business or social networking purposes, Conversations is also socially responsible by raising money for and awareness of local charities.

The money raised for PandaCrew partly came from the door charge paid by the attendees at Conversations JHB events from July 2015 to June 2016. The R25,303 also includes a generous donation of R5,500 from the Cosmetic and Dental Emporium.

PandaCrew aims to make a positive difference in people’s lives by helping out in whatever way they can wherever they see a need for some form of assistance. The PandaCrew motto says it all: “No one gets left behind. No one gets singled out. And no-one goes without help.”

“I chose PandaCrew as the second not-for-profit that Conversations in Johannesburg would support because they provide invaluable support to individuals and communities in real need,” said Andrew Howard, founder of Conversations.

“I am absolutely delighted that Conversations has been able to raise this money that will help PandaCrew to continue its crucial work. I would also like to thank all those who attended the Conversations JHB events during the fundraising period. Without their support for this great cause, this fundraising effort would not have been possible.”

Barry Swart from PandaCrew, who took receipt of the R25,303 cheque, expressed his gratitude to Conversations JHB.

“We used some of the money earlier this year to help towards relieving the plight of the people of Winburg in the Free State, who were suffering due to the severe drought. We supplied 35,000 litres of water and non-perishable food stuffs to the old age home there,” said Swart.

“We’ll be using the rest of the money to continue our support for the Matwala Children’s Home in Vaal; to supply 50 children in need with school bags and stationery for the year ahead; and to supply dog food and financial assistance to the Wollies Animal Project in Pretoria North. This large donation from Conversations will go a long way in helping us to achieve our goals.”

The next Conversations JHB event will be in February 2017. The next Conversations event in Cape Town will be held on Wednesday 25th January at Nasdak, the function venue on top of the Media24 Building in the CBD.

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