Statement: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Danté Austin
Philadelphia, PA (June 2019) – The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) board members, the DVLF and Our Night Out (ONO) communities, and many others throughout the region continue to deeply mourn the death of Danté Austin, 27.
Danté served on the DVLF board since August 2018. He was integral in spearheading important initiatives. He helped hire a new executive director, recruit new board members through the Governance Committee, and served on the Grants Committee to ensure that our recipients advanced DVLF’s mission while reflecting diversity and inclusion.
Prior to joining the board, Danté’s trailblazing work in the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department improved countless institutions and organizations. As a result, he was awarded the DVLF 2018 Individual Hero Award, one of Philadelphia's most prestigious recognitions in the LGBTQ+ community.
The board stands in solidarity with Danté's family, friends, and the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage anyone affected by Danté's death to seek professional support and/or grief counseling. Pro bono services are being offered through the William Way Community Center. In addition, the board encourages everyone to share information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK, the Crisis Text Line (text TALK to 741741), The Trevor Project, and other emergency resources. The board also encourages broader overall dialogue about mental health challenges that each of us have faced and are facing. You are not alone.
The board is also committed to upholding Danté's legacy, spirit, and community activism. If you would like to get involved, we encourage you to consider these direct, specific actions:
* Register for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Greater Philadelphia Walk scheduled for Oct. 6. Join Team Danté. ( https://afsp.org/chapter/afsp-greater-philadelphia/ )
* Support the Philly Trans March (Danté strongly supported the trans community) by attending Our Night Out tomorrow, June 20, at the Cambria Hotel (219 South Broad St.) from 6 to 9 p.m.
(Pre-registration: https://co.clickandpledge.com/advanced/default.aspx?wid=109248 )
* Support DVLF by volunteering for events, serving on a committee, or including DVLF in your planned giving. ( https://www.dvlf.org/sign-up )
Finally, DVLF is in discussions with Danté's family, Greater Philly GOAL (Gay Officers Action League), and the William Way Community Center to establish a fund that shares Danté’s legacy with the community in perpetuity. If you are interested in learning more or donating, contact Executive Director, Juan Franco, at email@example.com .
DVLF, now in its 26th year, fosters philanthropy and helps meet the emerging needs of the Greater Philadelphia region’s LGBTQ community through its endowment and other activities including Our Night Out. Over the course of its history, it has provided about $1 million in support for organizations working in areas such as health and social services, arts and culture, education and humanities, and legal and civil rights.