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Juan Franco Murillo, the executive director of DVLF. Photo Courtesy of Juan Franco Murillo
Juan Franco Murillo, the executive director of DVLF. Photo Courtesy of Juan Franco Murillo

Spotlight: Juan Franco Murillo

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For our third installment of the Spotlight article series, we conducted a Q&A with Juan Franco Murillo, the executive director of DVLF, the leading funder of emerging needs in the Greater Philadelphia LGBTQ community.

Check out our Q&A here:

This interview has been condensed for length and clarity. 

 
Who is Juan Franco Murillo?

I am a 30-year-old Latinx gay man, originally from Barranquilla, Colombia. When I was three years old, my family emigrated to the U.S., settling first in Chicago and then moving around to a few different states until I made my own move to Philadelphia in 2011. I was raised by parents who taught my two older brothers and I to question everything, think critically, and remain compassionate. They taught us resilience and confidence, skills that have been critical to my success an  immigrant. 

In my professional life, I’ve learned to thrive in environments that are mission and service driven. Fueled by my passion to serve others, my career path and growth have led me to numerous opportunities where I can positively impact on the lives of marginalized community members. This career path led to my becoming the Executive Director of DVLF (formerly Delaware Valley Legacy Fund) just over a year ago.  

In my personal life, I keep busy with many interests as well. I have a deep love for music, singing and dancing. I also love playing soccer. For five years, I’ve been a member of the Philadelphia Falcons LGBTQ+ soccer club. Finally, in the past few years, I have developed a love for photography because of its ability to capture deeply meaningful moments in time. This love led to the creation of my photography brand - That Little Moment - on Instagram.

 

What is DVLF and its mission?
 
DVLF has been the Philadelphia region’s leading funder for the Emerging Needs of the LGBTQ community since 1993, and has given over $1 million in grants and scholarships. Guided by its mission to “serving the greater Philadelphia regions LGBTQ community through philanthropy,” DVLF continues to foster positive change through its yearly grantmaking, scholarships, advocacy, community leadership development and education.

 

How can people support your organization or get involved?
 
There are many ways in which people can support the organization and/or get involved. Making a recurrent donation is the most direct way people can support and amplify our mission.

Other ways people can support DVLF is by attending our monthly “Our Night Out” networking events where we raise money by collecting a small donation to benefit a selected beneficiary organization every other month. People can also support DVLF by attending or becoming an official sponsor to one, or both, of our two major yearly events: HEROES Awards Brunch in the Spring, or TOY, our holiday fundraiser in early December..

 

What are some of the challenges that your organization faces?
 
One of the main challenges is fundraising during a political climate that is nearing a presidential election with several nominees running their own fundraising campaigns.

Another challenge is the need to find new and creative ways to support and uplift the LGBTQ community while it experiences the rollback of some of their rights and/or are targeted by messaging that alienates our community, especially our Trans siblings and people of color.

 

What’s one piece of advice for young people who are struggling to figure out their next step in their career?
 
Be patient with yourself, dedicate some time to figuring out what works best for you regarding self-care. Self-care is something that’s uniquely personal so try different things and see what self-care strategies help you feel most recharged and motivated to continue facing whatever challenges may arise to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Also, find your people. Your people are the people who will support your vision, support your entire being while challenging you in healthy and positive ways, will celebrate your wins and help lift you when you’re down, and will support you on your entire journey.  

 

Quick Fire Questions: 
1. Past or present, someone you would like to meet?
John Legend and Freddie Mercury

 

2. Best place to grab a drink in Philly?
Anywhere that makes me feel welcome as an openly gay person

 

3. Current favorite song?
Tempo by Lizzo

 

4. What’s your favorite restaurant?
Tierra Colombiana

 

5. Any hobbies or favorite pastime?
Soccer, photography, singing and dancing
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