PHOTOS: OurNightOut at Top of the Tower

It was a huge turn out for yesterday evening’s OurNightOut LGBTQ happy hour: nearly 400 people took in the amazing sights from 50 stories high. Top of the Tower rolled out the welcome mat for the evening’s guests, with two huge party rooms dedicated to the event, and plenty of food and drinks. The social gathering was also a party for a purpose: A five dollar donation went toward an LGBTQ scholarship fund, coordinated by the Independence Business Alliance and the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund. We were there to capture the fun.

PHOTOS: Our Night Out at XIX

The extremely nasty weather didn’t stop hundreds (literally, hundreds … it was packed) of gay Philly’s finest from taking the Bellevue elevators all the way up nineteen floors for an evening of cocktails, mingling, and holiday cheer. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s popular Our Night Out happy hour and networking event was co-sponsored this month by the HRC Philadelphia Steering Committee, who showed up with plenty of equality stickers and paraphernalia for guests.

The views, even in the cold rain and wind, were stunning: Several of XIX’s signature bay windows were opened so guests could take a peek at the City of Brotherly Love (if they didn’t mind getting a little wet in the process). We were there to capture some of the fabulous fun and excellent outfits that graced the evening.

P.S. Kudos are in high order for the folks at DVLF for throwing another great event so quickly after their annual TOY fundraiser, which was this past Saturday evening. Now, that’s some great party planning!

PHOTOS: Gay Holiday Spirits Ran High at TOY

Charitable, in-the-holiday-spirit LGBTers braved the drizzle Saturday night to head to Old City for Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s annual holiday fundraiser, TOY. This was the first time the event was held at Fire & Ice, a club-y space on Market that hosts a handful of LGBT events throughout the year.

The new venue gave the event a little more attitude than years past when it was held at Reading Terminal Market. The space was dark, music—by DJ Carl Michaels—was pumping, and folks mingled in their holiday-inspired threads. In the doorway was a small mountain of unwrapped toys donated from each guest. Delaware Valley Legacy Fund Executive Director—and TOY organizer—Samantha Giusti tells me that, “because of the community’s support, DVLF was able to raise significant funds [from ticket sales and a silent auction] to support the LGBTQ community in the region. We don’t have the final number yet, but we collected over 350 toys to support children served by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and ActionAIDS.”

Freedom G Photography‘s Tara Lessard sent some photos from the evening. Check those out below.

Extra Reading: See photos from last year’s TOY here.

GIVEAWAY: Win Tickets to TOY This Saturday [CONTEST CLOSED]

TOYIf you’ve lived in Philly for a while, you know that TOY, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF)’s annual holiday fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and ActionAIDS, is not only one of the go-to events of the season but of the year. And the eighth annual gathering is happening this Saturday in Old City.

Over the past few years it was held after hours at the Reading Terminal Market, but this year organizers have decided to take the shindig east to Fire & Ice in Old City, where, DVLF’s Samantha Giusti tells me, the space will be transformed into a winter wonderland as guests mingle, nibble, sip and boogie to the sounds of DJ Carl Michaels.

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Philanthropy Friday: Bebashi

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, Bebashi-Transition of Hope, an organization that works to provide healthcare information, direct services, education, research and technical assistance to reduce and eliminate HIV/AIDS and other health disparities within the urban community of Philadelphia and its vicinity.

Gary J. Bell, executive director of Bebashi-Transition of Hope.

Gary J. Bell, executive director of Bebashi-Transition of Hope.

Who are you? My name is Gary J. Bell and I am the executive director of Bebashi-Transition to Hope. Bebashi was the first African American based AIDS service organization in the United States and remains one of Philadelphia’s largest community-based minority providers of HIV/AIDS education and services, serving more than 20,000 clients annually.  We offer a comprehensive continuum of prevention and care, which includes HIV counseling and testing, integrated screening for STDs, Hepatitis C, and pregnancy; culturally sensitive and competent prevention education, medical case management, community-based education programs; outreach services; support groups; HIV discharge planning for recently released inmates; breast cancer awareness and screening for high-risk African American women; and a hunger relief program.

When was Bebashi founded? In 1985 by Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer and Wesley Anderson as BEBASHI (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues). The purpose was to address the impact of HIV/AIDS and other sexual health disparities in communities of color at a time when there was no other organization in the United States doing so.  Five years ago we changed our name to ensure that our openness and availability to all people was not misunderstood based on our acronym.

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Philanthropy Friday: The LGBT Elder Initiative (LGBTEI)

LGBT Elder Initiative

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, the LGBT Elder Initiative, an awesome DVLF grantee who works to promote healthy aging among LGBTQ older adults—the pioneers of our movement (and us, one day.) 

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Heshie Zinman, chair of the LGBT Elder Initiative.

Who are you? Heshie Zinman, chair of the LGBT Elder Initiative (LGBTEI). We are a volunteer-driven, grassroots organization dedicated to building bridges between the aging services network and LGBT older adults. We focus on improving awareness of, and access to, the services offered by the aging services network and those available within LGBT communities.

When was LGBTEI founded? LGBTEI was founded in 2010 as a result of the LGBT Elder Survey and a Community Summit on Aging that attracted over 125 people from more than 20 states.

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PHOTOS: Our Night Out at The Ritz-Carlton

It was a swanky (and PACKED) Wednesday evening affair as gay Philly drank, socialized, and nibbled their way through the iconic Ritz-Carlton on the Avenue of the Arts. The ever-popular Our Night Out happy hour and social-networking event was hosted by OPAL, an umbrella organization that aims to unify LGBTQ sporing groups throughout Philadelphia. Of course, everyone has to thank the great folks at the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund for coordinating Our Night Out and making it one of the best social events every month. We were there to capture everyone’s snazzy attire and handsome smiles.

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Philanthropy Friday: Delaware Valley Legacy Fund


Welcome to our new weekly series, Philanthropy Fridays, where Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. She gets things started with a peek into her work at DVLF, an organization that works to provide resources LGBT-focused non profits in the city. 

DVLFI am … Samantha Giusti, social change agent and executive director of Delaware Valley Legacy Fund.

When was the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund founded? 1993.

The organization’s mission statement is … Fostering positive change through grant-making, scholarships, advocacy, programming and education.

Our biggest shining moment to date was … The day DVLF’s endowment surpassed the $1-million mark. We have a growing pipeline of almost $10 million, because of our generous Legacy Society members who have left a gift to DVLF in their will.

Finish this sentence: If a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep … I would cry with joy. That would allow us to fund so many LGBT organizations doing vitally important work.

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PHOTOS: Our Night Out at The Pyramid Club

Our Night Out Header

Last evening, gay Philly was treated to breathtaking views from the 52nd floor of the BYN Mellon Center, otherwise known as The Pyramid Club. The exclusive space opened its doors as part of the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s Our Night Out program. Guests had the chance to preview DVLF’s upcoming holiday extravaganza, TOY 2014, and were offered a chance to purchase discount tickets to the popular event; one lucky guest won a pair of tickets as part of a raffle. We were there to capture the mingling, the cocktails, and the really great looking crowd.

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