Meet our Leadership
The DVLF Board is recruiting candidates to join the board:
Why Apply for the Board of Directors?
Make a lasting difference in the LGBTQ+ community
Give back to a worthy cause and those in need
Help grow this outstanding organization's reach and membership
Board Responsibilities - Please contact Info@DVLF.org for more information
Board of Directors
Michael Grosberg (he/him/his) re-joined the Board of DVLF in March 2021. As a committed champion of the community, Michael believes in the enduring mission of DVLF as a convener of LGBT philanthropy, and sees fostering community-based charitable giving as a moral imperative of his generation. His engagement with DVLF spans more than a decade, including 8 years as Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee. In his previous term of service, Michael led key initiatives to modernize DVLF's operations, including financial and donor management systems, as well as branding, strategic planning, and capacity-building projects. In rejoining DVLF, he is looking forward to driving towards the organization's strategic goals and building a $5M endowment by 2025.
Michael brings to DVLF extensive experience in analytics and strategic business performance management. He is currently Director of Product Management for Model N, a revenue management software vendor for life sciences and high-tech manufacturers, and was previously with Deloitte & Touche LLP in a similar role. Michael holds a Master of Public Management in Information Technology degree and a Bachelor of Science in Statistics degree, both from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Michael and his husband are recently married and split time between Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Philadelphia.
Karl Michelfelder joins the DVLF board after over ten years of working with the organization in various capacities, namely volunteering DJ services for the annual TOY fundraiser for the past ten years, and more recently serving on various DVLF event planning committees to help market and produce the organization’s annual fundraisers. Karl grew up in Bucks County and moved to Center City when he began Temple University at age 19. Karl has, since the age of about 18, worked as a DJ for nightclubs and events around the country, traveling for most of the 2000’s entertaining diverse crowds all over the U.S. and Mexico. After the industry calmed, Karl stayed active locally as a DJ for just about every major nightclub in the city, shifting focus to LGBTQ+ venues in order to get in better touch with his community. But always moving, Karl always maintained full-time work building creative, effective marketing campaigns for varied industries - including LGBTQ+ publishing, online dating, restaurants, and most recently moving on to HealthCare IT marketing and demand generation for NextGen Healthcare. Through his connection to the Philadelphia LGBTQ+ community, Karl has over the years volunteered for numerous charitable organizations, including DVLF, Mazzoni Center, AIDS Fund, Philly Pride, Morris Animal Refuge, and William Way Community Center. Karl is excited to join this dynamic group who care deeply about providing for the emerging needs of the LGBTQ+ community in the Delaware Valley. Karl also serves on the board for Jazmine’s Fund, an organization dedicated to breaking down barriers to mental health care for underserved communities.
Chase Wright is a Philadelphia attorney practicing in corporate law, commercial contracting, and mergers and acquisitions with Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC. Wright earned his Juris Doctor from the Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law, where he served on the Penn State Law Review. He previously graduated summa cum laude from Kutztown University in Finance and Business Management. Wright brings experience with non-profit law and social impact funds to his position on the Board. Before relocating to Philadelphia, Chase served on the Board of Directors of an LGBTQ+ health, medical, and wellness institution serving central Pennsylvania. Chase was born and raised in Berks County and is a first-generation college and law graduate with a family of small business entrepreneurs throughout the region.
William Leffler, CDM, CFPP
William (Bill) Leffler joined the DVLF Board of Directors in March of 2018 possessing a background in culinary arts and management. He has an extensive history in hotels, restaurants, corporate services and healthcare settings both in Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Bill and his partner of 35 years moved from DC to Philadelphia in 2012. He currently works for Aramark at Jefferson Abington Hospital as Director of Food and Nutrition.
Bill brings with him many years of experience on volunteer boards and in philanthropy. He has been a Director for 2 homeowner associations as President, Vice President and Treasurer. He has been a strong advocate of the American Heart Association by actively facilitating and fundraising for their annual HeartChase event.
Bill champions a workplace environment of acceptance and equity for all LGBTQ and ally team members through employee engagement, community involvement, education and awareness. He is an active member of the Aramark PRIDE employee resource group; and sits on the Jefferson Abington Hospital Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.
Board Governance Chair
Clay Payne has worked in public sector administrative positions for over 20 years. He recently retired as Director of Public Services and Human Resources for the Atlanta-Fulton County Library System. In this role, he worked to secure funding via a $275 million bond referendum, supervised the opening of eight new library branches, renovation of numerous library branches and worked with the Atlanta-Fulton County Library Foundation to secure funding for numerous library programs and projects. In addition, Clay has worked for the Washington, D.C. branch of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Throughout his career, he has worked to provide programs and services to disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
Clay brings with him a dedication to the LGBTQ community having worked to raise funds for AID Atlanta and Lost-N-Found Youth.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and History from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Clark Atlanta University.
He and his husband relocated to Philadelphia from Toronto, Ontario in 2017.
Kina Beltran is a healthcare information technology professional who oversees the day to day operations of Ambulatory Information Systems as the Ambulatory Lead for Inspira Health Network. She provides ongoing process improvement, risk assessment, and mitigation plans while analyzing business/clinical needs and is also skilled in developing and maintaining effective relationships to provide an in-depth analysis of best practice application processes. Kina has a graduate certificate in Healthcare Informatics and is currently pursuing her MBA. During her undergrad, she was the president of the African American Club and also volunteered with the Gay Straight Alliance at Rowan University and for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Sappho Fulton She/Her/Hers. C.E.O. Of Sappho and LaRoyce Foundation. Community leader and activist she continues to work effortlessly on issues of domestic violence and developing effective intervention strategies specific but not limited to LBTQ WOMXN of Color. She serves in our community as a life coach and business consultant. She will be co creating Philadelphia’s first Black LGBTQ + and Juneteenth 20/20.
Katie Heisler (she/her/they/them) is a Philadelphia-based Project Management Professional, and leads a portfolio of marketing, PR, and special projects. Over a fifteen-year career she has worked on a variety of projects, campaigns, festivals and early on launched a brand of pretzels from concept to store shelves in sixty days. Her diverse skills have served across industry, non-profit, finance, insurance, and festival events.
Katie studied English Literature at La Salle University where she received a BA, with later training from the Institute of Project Management. An avid traveler and Scuba diver, she’s now tethered closer to home where she has recently taken up drone-flying with her son, Reef, named to honor and celebrate the coral ecosystems surrounding Grand Cayman (and the locale of her penultimate adventure before learning the news of his arrival). Katie leads with creativity, compassion, and a healthy curiosity.
Gloria Melunis serves on the Executive Committee and is the Governance Committee Chair of DVLF. Gloria is Counsel to the Asset Management Group at PNC in Philadelphia, where she focuses on investment management and securities matters for the individual wealth and institutional lines of business. Prior to joining PNC, Gloria served as a judicial law clerk to a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey. Gloria is Vice President of PNC Proud, the LGBTQ+ Employee Business Resource Group at PNC. A member of the PNC Legal Dept.’s D&I Council, Gloria is Chair of the Summer Intern Committee and supports the Council’s commitment to promoting diversity in the legal community by managing approximately 6 diverse legal interns each summer. In addition, she Co-Chairs the Mentorship Committee of GALLOP, Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association. Gloria was selected by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the “Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40 – Class of 2019.” With this award, the LGBT Bar honors outstanding LGBT legal professionals who have distinguished themselves in their field and demonstrated a profound commitment to LGBT equality. Gloria received her B.A. from Rowan University and her J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 2015. She is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania state bars.
Valerie Gonzalez is originally a native of Miami, Florida and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. She is a graduate of Georgia State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History, where she focused her studies in Architecture and early 20th Century homes and lifestyles. While still in school, Valerie worked at a local Atlanta real estate office and quickly fell in love with the industry. She immediately acquired her real estate license and has been serving clients in the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas since 1997.
Valerie is a dedicated Realtor with Keller Williams (KW) and is recognized as a dynamic relationship builder and respected industry leader who fosters valuable partnerships with clients and fellow Realtors to provide top-notch real estate services and superior client satisfaction. She is the Director of Sales and Expansion for the Seeby Group in Atlanta and Philadelphia. Prior to that, she served as the Director of Sales for The Graham Seeby Group (#1 in the SE Region for KW 2016, 2017). Valerie joined KW in 2011 because it was the number one training company in the world and she wanted to grow as a mentor and leader.
Her knowledge of the market and of the business give her an edge whether selling her clients’ houses or finding their dream homes. She has a proven reputation amongst agents throughout the industry that ensures that her clients will experience a smooth transaction. Her long-standing career in real estate and her high esteem amongst agents has also given Valerie a well-earned place on the “first call list” for new listings. She is prepared to confidently and quickly handle any complications that may be encountered in the home buying/selling process.
Her knowledge spans more than just real estate. Valerie stays on top of all things Philadelphia (and, Atlanta!) - from restaurant openings and concerts, to festivals and parades; she keeps clients up-to-date on everything happening in the city, which helps immerse clients into the culture of the city. She speaks Spanish fluently and is proficient in French. In her free time, she enjoys quality time with her partner and their two dogs, traveling the globe, exploring the city’s thriving food scene, theater outings, and the company of friends.
Christopher Barrett Politan
Christopher Barrett Politan is the principal of Give, Get, Grow - a Philanthropic Advisory and non-profit Consulting firm. His work seeks to provide insight, counsel, and implementation-based strategy for creating sustainable, innovative, and deeply engaged organizations throughout the sector. His client focus has been within organizations working on cultural, LGBTQ, environmental, and health concerns. Within the LGBTQ community, he has worked with a number of national and international LGBTQ organizations including: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, SAGE, Ali Forney Center, Anti-Violence Project, Immigration Equality, The Legacy Project, Northalsted, and OutRight Action International.
Additionally, he has been honored to serve on the boards of The Legacy Project, Chicago House and Social Service Agency, and the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Association (IGLA). He presently serves as a Board member and Strategic Planning Chairperson of Chicago Dancemakers Forum an organization providing annual unrestricted grants to choreographers and Dancemakers in Chicago.
A life-long competitive swimmer, Christopher coached masters athletes in Washington, DC, New York City, and Chicago, having most recently led the Chicago Smelts to three consecutive state championships and a new national relay record, and having previously helped Team NY Aquatics win an IGLA World Championship in Iceland.
Having relocated to Philadelphia in the spring of 2017, Christopher looks forward to working with DVLF to advance its mission and build upon its tremendous legacy to the Philadelphia community.
James T. Wright, PhD
Dr. James T. Wright, Jr. was born in Yonkers, NY and he was raised and educated in NJ where he graduated from Linden High School. He attended Howard University in Washington, DC majoring in Chemistry. After graduating magna cum laude, James received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to fund his graduate education studying computational chemistry at UCLA and physical organic chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA where he earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry.
During his career, James worked at Georgia-Pacific Corp as a Sr Manager in R&D, at Arclin as Director of Technology, at EcoSynthetix as VP of R&D and at Evertree North America as CEO. Today Dr. James T. Wright, Jr. is the Vice President of Business and a Technology at Arclin USA. As VP, he leads all commercial activities, research and development efforts focused on Arclin’s chemical sales. With his extensive industrial experience and chemical industry network, James serves as a leader on the Arclin Leadership Team.
Among James’ many honors are scholarships, professional scientific awards and over 35 patents. James has volunteered at many organizations mainly focused on education, healthcare and supporting families. He attributes his success to hard work, access to education, and a loving family.
Tekara Gainey is a reproductive justice advocate and birth worker. She fuses her background in anthropology and reproductive work to acknowledge and address the systems of oppression that impact availability and access to compassionate, non-judgmental, reproductive care to birthing persons and their families across the spectrum of their reproductive needs. Prior to transitioning to birth work full-time, Tekara spent numerous years working in the non-profit sector in community affairs and engagement. Tekara is an alumnus of Temple University and San Diego State University, where she pursued a BA in Anthropology and MA in Medical Anthropology, respectively.