DVLF Heroes 2015 A Heartwarming Afternoon of Recognition and Celebration

Micah Rodriguez (right) with members of the Attic Youth Center.

Youth HEROES honoree Micah Rodriguez (far right) with members of the Attic Youth Center.

“I knew I was part of LGBTQ community since I started high school,” said Micah Rodriguez, DVFL’s Youth HERO honoree this year. “But I never knew how much the LGBTQ community was a part of me.”

Rodriguez was one of a half-dozen honorees at Sunday afternoon’s Delaware Valley Legacy Fund’s HEROES 2015 award ceremony, which aims to celebrate those in the Philadelphia-area LGBTQ community who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, and innovative thinking. The ceremony, which was held in Old City’s Hotel Monaco, hosted several hundred guests from around the Delaware Valley.

Of particular note, the Lifetime Legacy Award was posthumously presented to Gloria Casarez, who died last year after a long battle with cancer. Casarez’s widow, Tricia Dressel, accepted the award, and received a standing ovation after her moving speech:

Other honorees included Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, West Laurel Hill, and Ian Morrison, who received the Community HERO award:

But the brunch event wasn’t just an afternoon of honoring the award winners: DVLF’s Executive Director Samantha Giusti discussed the great strives the organization has recently made. Under Giusti’s leadership, DVLF increased their grant-making by 98 percent and raised over $4 million in funds to assist other LGBTQ organizations in the region. However, the struggle for capital isn’t over for LGBTQ foundations: LGBTQ organizations raise 26 cents for every 100 dollars donated in charitable fundraising, and the statistics for trans organizations is even worse, according to Giusti.

For more on how you can assist the mission of DVLF, visit their website. And check our Giusti’s weekly G Philly column, Philanthropy Friday, which highlights a variety of LGBTQ nonprofits in Philadelphia. It’s a great start when you’re beginning to put together your 2015 giving list.