In the early 90’s retail visionary Jeffrey Kalinsky saw an epidemic happening around him, decided to do something about it, and founded Jeffrey Cares. What started as a community based event in Atlanta has now grown to raise nearly $15 million to support LGBTQ civil rights, HIV Prevention, research, and education. This year Jeffrey Cares New York event benefits three LGBTQ charities Elton John Aids Foundation, Henrick Martin Institute, and Lambda Legal. IDOL chats with Jeffrey to talk about finding your own way to give back, what prompted him to start Jeffrey Cares, and what tonight is really about.

What inspired you to start Jeffrey Cares?

Because AIDS was killing a generation of people. We needed people to do something, and I wanted to be apart of that.

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Our new government is doing their best at taking away funding from key organizations. How can people find a way to give back and make
a difference?

I think everyone has to find their way of giving back. This is my way and your way might be being here covering this, or going to a march, or packing dinners for people who need meals. We all have a role that we can play.


How do you approach curating such a cohesive runway show with so many different brands?

You know thats the challenging part getting the clothes. It’s a challenge getting brands to give us stuff to put in the show. We do the best we can. The fashion show is the least important part of the evening. The most important is to raise the money.

It’s never about a trend with me. We showcase the best of what we gather and let that individual looks speak for itself. Certainly, you’ll see a lot of Gucci, there’s an individuality message there, and that’s really always where the message is at.

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Photography by Bella Tate