It might not have been as rowdy as its namesake pool party, but the Joining Hearts check presentation party on Sunday is what the organization and a year of lead-up events are really all about.

Gay Atlanta’s biggest summer event (view photos) and a year’s worth of fundraisers all led to this moment. The 25th anniversary Joining Hearts board and host committee welcomed all comers to the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel for Sunday’s event, which also served as a thank you to sponsors.

Mixing and mingling at the cash bar and appetizer table got serious and a little emotional when it came time to unveil the donations to AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House. The annual contribution tallied a cool $250,000 for 2012, which was split between the two beneficiaries. Last year, the event raised $185,000.

Just how they raised that much is no mystery. It wasn’t just the poolside hunks at July’s main event, or the crowds at not one, not two, not three but four adjacent events for Joining Hearts Weekend. The donation is also the result of a full year of fundraising benefits, kicking off officially for Valentine’s Day and moving through a long list of dances, shirtless car washes, Sunday fundays and so much more.

Photos by Sher Pruitt