The ‘Minty Fresh’ Distinctive Officers Program of The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, I was invited to attend a reception being held at The William Way Community Center for the “graduating” inaugural class of Mint Voyagers. We were all being introduced to The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund’s (DVLF) “Distinctive Officers Program”. There were twenty participants in all, divided into four groups of five with a team mentor, who is already established in the community. The mentors were Mark Dann, Harvey Hurdle, Perry Monastero and John Moeller Jr., who I had a chance to interview via email.

Who started the program and why?

The Distinctive Officers program started because local LGBTI leaders expressed the need for the community to identify and cultivate the next generation and some newer, more seasoned members and allies. Additionally, leaders worry about the adequate involvement of women, people of color, and straight allies in leadership. Complicating the leadership vacuum was the exponential increase of LGBT groups since 1995.

When did it start?

The first class started June 15th of this year.

Why the name Mint Voyagers?

The Mint Voyagers name was used after going through many name ideas to describe the first class. Mint Voyagers was chosen because the class was new or “Minty Fresh”.

How did people find out about the program to get into it?

We reached out to several committee leaders to nominate individuals. We received 150 nominations and began reaching out to those individuals personally. From 150, 80 people said they were interested and wanted more information. Then from the 80 individuals we sent out all the information about the first class, including dates and times people had to commit to, and from that list we had our class of 20 participants.

When is the next class?

The next class will be in late September.

Who were the “teachers” of each of the four groups?

The first class was led by community leaders Mark Dann, Harvey Hurdle, John Moeller Jr., and Perry Monastero. 

Faculty members included Harrisburg-based elected official Dan Miller, Victory Fund campaign board member Alex Reber, Temple University faculty member Lee Carson, along with community leaders Alyssa Mutryn (Attic Youth Center’s Development Director), Evan Urbania (President-Elect of the Independence Business Alliance), and John Cunningham (DVLF co-founder).

When I went to the reception at William Way, each of the twenty participants were given an opportunity to speak about what they did in their individual groups and also what they would be doing in the community in the future. They would be using their backgrounds in business, law, the arts and politics to contribute to community activism. Each group did a brief presentation about themselves and also about the organizations that they would be involved in, which included, The Trevor Project, DVLF, IBA, the campaign of Patrick Murphy to Attorney General of Pennsylvania, HIV organizations, housing, LGBT youth and also, The William Way Community Center. Each member described how they would be using their individual backgrounds to make a difference in these organizations and therefore, the community.

One of the key reasons that it seems that this organization was formed was because we are all used to seeing the same faces in the community participating in activism and they wanted to get new people involved with people that are already established. They want to foster a new sense of hope and pride in our community. Listening to the twenty members of the first class, I couldn’t help but feel their excitement at the possibilities that they would be creating. I used “graduates” in quotes in the beginning of the article because it was made clear that these individuals will not officially graduate as an official “Mint Voyager” until they have established themselves in their orgranizations and have also acquired a mentor.

This is an exciting new program in its beginning stages and there will be many more classes to come. The next class of Distinctive Officers is scheduled to take place in September. For more information about the program, to participate or to nominate someone, please contact John Moeller Jr. at 215.563.6417 ext 117 or email him at

I will be doing individual interviews with the very varied members of the inaugural class that will be posted in the weeks to come. I am proud to give the exposure to a new crop of renegades in our community.

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