The couple bonded over their passions for "serving their communities," the friend tells PEOPLE

By Michele Corriston
August 30, 2019 02:37 PM

After quietly dating for about a year, Jeannie Mai and Jeezy made their public debut as boyfriend and girlfriend last week at the inaugural SnoBall Gala, which raises funds for the rapper, entrepreneur and philanthropist’s non-profit.

Fresh off the news of their relationship, a friend of the couple tells PEOPLE that the stars’ affinity for helping others is what bonded them in the first place.

“Jeannie and Jeezy have been dating for about one year and they are very happy,” the friend says. “He has been a recurring guest on The Real. They are both extremely dedicated to serving their communities and strongly support each other’s careers and passions.”

Jeannie Mai and Jeezy
Will Cotton

The friend explains, “Jeannie’s devotion is to empower women and serves as an advocate against human trafficking and victims of sexual abuse. Jeezy is the founder of Street Dreamz Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages a generation of at-risk youth to become effective leaders.”

Supporters have since been flooding Mai, 40, and Jeezy, 41, with congratulatory messages on social media.

“Jeannie Mai and Young Jeezy look amazing af together they match each other’s fly,” one fan tweeted alongside photos of the couple at the gala.

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai
Will Cotton

“They make a beautiful couple. I’m here for this!” another wrote.

The stars first sparked romance rumors in January, and she played coy about their romance soon after while hosting The Real — though she gushed about their connection.

“He’s very special to me,” she said. “We’re just having a good time together.”

Jeezy is Mai’s first relationship since her split from estranged husband Freddy Harteis after 10 years of marriage.