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DVLF's TOY turns 25 this year! - An Interview with their new Executive Director!

Chris Balbi

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Bowtie Boy has been trekking around philly for 3 years. He enjoys theatre, beer gardens and intellectual conversations that lead nowhere. When he's not free-lancing his social media management and digital marketing strategies, he's at home in his underwear watching Dr. Who and eating Reese's puffs.
posted by Chris Balbi on Nov 12, 2018 10:30am | comments


I met with Juan Franco Murillo, new Executive Director of DVLF to talk about TOY25

1. How have things in the DVLF world been since you're take over, what's changed?

Since starting as the new executive director of DVLF back in July, things in the DVLF world have moved forward in many exciting ways. Some of our notable accomplishments include our boards efforts to bring on 8 new members that reflect the diversity of our beautiful community, our kicking off our grant cycle with a grant committee made up of several community members and board members, being a collaborator of the Leadership Pipeline Program in partnership with the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the IBA and William Way, as well as gearing up for a special edition of our annual fundraiser TOY25 - The Silver Jubilee celebrating our 25th anniversary.†

I believe that my, and the DVLFís board member, efforts encourage everyone to be engaged in philanthropy by and for our community with the goal of continuing to fuel the LGBTQ movement of empowering and advancing our community.†

2. TOY25 is this year, for those who don't know, what is TOY?

TOY25 is a very special version of our annual fundraiser celebrating our 25th anniversary where all attendees will be helping us amplify our efforts to empower and advance the LGBTQ community through grant-making, scholarships, advocacy, community leadership development and education.†

The event will be held at the extravagant Arts Ballroom right in the heart of the Philadelphia Gayborhood on Saturday, December 15, 2018 from 7:30pm-10:30pm.

3. How is TOY25 going to be different than any other TOY?č

We are so excited to announce that TOY25 will feature a performance from the very talented Matteo Lane, a hilarious gay comedian as seen on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Myers. We believe that having him as part of our live entertainment along with the event being held right in our Gayborhood will help make for an unforgettable night!†

The event will also feature music by DJ Carl Michaels, a gay local DJ with 20+ years of making Philly dance, an Open Bar and hors d'oeuvres for our guest to foster a celebratory environment, a silent auction, a presentation commemorating our 2018 grantees celebrating their positive impact on the LGBTQ community, hosted by none other than the Philadelphia Eagles pregame host Raymond Smeriglio, and of course, a fun time networking and dancing to close the party out.

4. What's your favorite part of living in Philly? Your favorite Restaurant?†

Itís really hard to describe one single thing as my favorite part of living in Philly. However, one thing that I am incredibly grateful for is my experience in finding and developing meaningful friendships with other LGBTQ individuals, many of which are now part of my chosen family, and the love and support theyíve shown me over the years. Many of these people have helped me grow in ways I canít simply describe with words. Part of why this experience is one of my favorite things about living in Philly is because it has really shown me how truly remarkable and resilient our LGBTQ community is in their dedication to making progress happen for a more just and equitable society for our more marginalized community members.†

My favorite restaurant is easy to answer, lol. It depends on my mood. Iím a big foodie person that loves food from all over the world. Depending on my mood, my favorite type of restaurant on any given day may be one that serves Colombian food, Indian food, Greek food, Italian food, Thai food, or other kinds of foods from different parts of the world. Iím always up for trying new types of food so this list will likely continue growing as well.†

5. The #1 question we get anytime I release a story is "He's a cuties, is he single?" Care to answer for the people?†

In my position, itís sometimes hard to draw a line between and find a balance in what aspects of my personal life I would like to keep private versus what Iím willing to share, lol. Since Iím still new to my position and am working on finding this balance, Iíll share this, I am happy with and get more than I could ever ask for from the people I share space with in my personal life.†

NOTE: Opinions are those of the author, and not necessarily those of or of any organization or business that the author is assosciated with.

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