PHILANTHROPY FRIDAY: Reggie Shuford With ACLU of Pennsylvania

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, an organization working to do everything from secure total rights for LGBT people to legalizing marijuana to protecting the reproductive rights of women in Pennsylvania.

Reggie Shuford looking like he's about to go get things done.

Reggie Shuford looking like he’s about to go get things done.

Who are you? Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

When was ACLU PA founded? The ACLU of Pennsylvania was founded in 1951. Our national office was founded in 1920.

One-sentence mission statement: The ACLU of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending and expanding the individual rights and personal freedoms afforded to us all by the state and federal constitutions and the Bill of Rights.

The organization’s shining moment, to date? We’ve had multiple high-impact successes over the years, but the one that stands out recently is, of course, Whitewood v. Wolf, our freedom to marry lawsuit that resulted in Pennsylvania becoming the 19th state to allow same-sex couples to get married. A close second would be our win this past year in the voter ID case, which protected the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

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The Roots Create Foundation to Help Students at Philly’s High School of Creative and Performing Arts

A recent $1.1-million budget cut at the Philadelphia High School of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) left the school void of 19 teachers and staff members since it was instated in 2012, plus the loss of a handful of clubs and extracurricular activities and, sadly, the school’s annual theater production.

So what’s a creative arts high school without all that?

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PHILANTHROPY FRIDAY: GALAEI

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative more affectionately known as  GALAEI. (Pronounced “gal-āy.”)

Elicia Gonzales

Elicia Gonzales

Who are you? Elicia Gonzales, executive director of GALAEI. We are a queer Latin@ social justice organization. “Queer” acknowledges and represents the mosaic of sexual and gender identities within our communities. “Latin@” represents the multiracial, multicultural experience of Latinidad. GALAEI embodies the common history of resistance and resilience of Latin@ and queer people. We are unwavering in our commitment to the advancement de nuestra familia through  leadership and economic development, sexual empowerment, and grassroots organizing.

When was GALAEI founded? GALAEI was founded in 1989 by David Acosta and other queer, Latin@ activists to respond to the lack of support and resources for our Queer Latin@ community during the HIV epidemic.

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Philanthropy Friday: Valley Youth House

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Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, Valerie Johnson on Warminster’s Valley Youth House, an organization that works to improve the lives of local homeless youth and their families.

Valerie TK and Wired 96.5's  Buster TK at Valley Youth House's annual Casino Night.

Valerie Johnson (L) and Buster from Wired 96.5 at Valley Youth House’s annual Casino Night.

Who are you? Valerie Johnson, development officer at Valley Youth House.

Valley Youth House was founded in … 1973.

One-sentence mission statement: The mission of Valley Youth House is to provide prevention and intervention services, counseling, life skills and behavioral health services to abused, neglected, and homeless youth and their families.

Our biggest shining moment, to date was the inception of our Pride housing program in 2009. We are the only organization in Philadelphia to provide rapid rehousing to homeless LGBTQ youth, which includes rental assistance and supportive services to prepare the youth for independence. Given that 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT compared to just 3 to 5 percent of the general population, these youth are experiencing homelessness at a disproportionate rate and we’re proud to be able to support them.

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DO THIS: Don Your Amateur Drag at The Beauty Ball

Photo by Alexander John.

Photo by Alexander John.

Five years ago Dr. Patrick Barrett began hosting a soiree in his apartment, where he’d ask guests to come in drag. He dubbed the party The Philly Beauty Ball, and it was apparently such a riot that it’s become become one of the year’s most-anticipated events. It’s a chance for those among us who are curious about drag but don’t want to glue on lashes and tuck our junk on a regular basis to see what we look like in a wig and a little rouge. But most importantly it’s a fun way to take part in the community and raise money for a good, local LGBT cause.

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WATCH: Brian Sims Rappels Commerce Square in Center City



If you thought you saw Brian Sims rappelling down the Commerce Square building in Center City this afternoon your eyes weren’t deceiving you. The state representative scurried down from the fourth story of the skyscraper to practice for an upcoming charity rappel down Brandywine Realty Trust’s One Logan Square on Friday, October 24th. He, along with a team of local LGBTers lead by Angela Giampolo, are taking on the task to raise money for The Philadelphia Outward Bound School.

Check out photos of Sims’ rappel above, and a video below. To learn more about the event and to donate, go here.

TOY to be Held at Fire & Ice This Year

TOYTo celebrate its eighth anniversary, TOY, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s annual charity gala for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), will move from Reading Terminal Market, where it has been held for the past two years, to Fire & Ice in Old City.

I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to hear it was moving. It really seemed like the event was becoming synonymous with RTM, where people would gather after hours to hobnob and bring toys that would be donated to the pediatric HIV/AIDS unit at CHOP. It was fabulous there. Why is it moving?

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Brian Sims Douses Himself in Cold Water for Charity

Earlier this summer my Facebook feed was drenched with videos from folks in my hometown, Lancaster, Kentucky, taking part in a “cold water challenge.” The concept is that you pour ice cold water on yourself for charity, and challenge others to do the same. If they don’t accept, they have to fork over big money for the initiator’s charity of choice.

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