Gay philanthropist donates $16 million to LGBT fund

A gay real-estate investor last week donated $16 million to a local LGBT fund.

Mel Heifetz announced on social media that he would expand the GLBT Fund of America, which is a donor-advised fund from the Philadelphia Foundation.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Heifetz gifted 26 of his Center City residential properties, plus additional cash. Investment income earned on the money each year will go toward LGBT groups.

“This is an important and powerful legacy gift,” TPF President and CEO Pedro A. Ramos said in a statement. “Mel has said repeatedly that he hopes it inspires other philanthropists to think about how they may work with us to strengthen our community, which has become more inclusive thanks to Mel’s leadership. At the end of the day, we all live in the community that we build.”

Heifetz declined to comment to PGN but noted in a statement how he hopes others will take inspiration.

“I hope that others will be inspired in their own generosity, especially in support of the GLBT community,” said Heifetz.

Heifetz established the GLBT Fund of America in 2007 to support the community in the areas of social justice, health needs and civil rights. His previous philanthropic efforts includes paying off the mortgage of the William Way LGBT Community Center in 2005 and recently participating in the development of a proposed 30-unit LGBT-friendly residency with Project HOME.

In a 2010 YouTube video, Heifetz explained why he chose the Philadelphia Foundation to provide his fund, noting that he even searched outside of the city.

“I finally decided here in my own hometown was probably the best resource for me and many other people I knew,” he said. “Whenever I asked somebody here in this local area who is it that’s best established and best able to deal with this, it was always the Philadelphia Foundation that was mentioned. So I wound up calling this home.”

Ramos said TPF is “proud to have been entrusted by Mel to continue in perpetuity the work that he has been championing his whole life.”

“This is an extraordinarily generous act for the community and an extraordinary honor for The Philadelphia Foundation,” Ramos said. “The impact of Mel’s gift will advance GLBT and other organizations for generations.”