— Jake Maroney, Member of the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund’s Our Night Out Committee
Our Night Out (ONO) is a monthly event organized as a way for members of the LGBTQ+ community to network and raise money for local LGBTQ+ organizations. Unlike some professional networking events, ONO isn’t merely a business card exchange. With rotating venues and beneficiaries, ONO focuses on being an inclusive, inviting, philanthropic social event for the LGBTQ+ community.
ONO was founded by Dr. R. Perry Monastero and David Hallowell as Boys Night Out with both men looking for an alternative to the typical social scene within the LGBTQ+ community. It began in the form of Sunday brunches before transitioning to the current format of happy hours allowing members of the community to take up space at bars and restaurants that are traditionally straight spaces.
To be more inclusive, in 2006, the name was changed from Boys Night Out to Our Night Out. As Dr. Monastero stated, “our trans friends and people who identify as women wanted to join us and we most definitely wanted them.” The following year is when ONO began its partnership with the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF). In the ensuing years, ONO has branched out and been emulated in other cities, including Wilmington, Delaware.
Some of the venues that we have held events at are BOK, Morgan’s Pier, The Ritz Carlton, U-Bahn, the Kimmel Cultural Campus, and Uptown Beer Garden. During the winter, ONO events were paused out of an abundance of caution. Our most successful event, held at the Barnes Foundation, saw over 900 members of the community and allies come together. Each event is organized by the ONO committee of dedicated volunteers, who work with venues and the benefiting organizations to coordinate a successful event for everyone to enjoy.
In recent years, ONO has been able to provide much needed funds to many local LGBTQ+ communities, including Philly Black Pride, Babashi – Transition of Hope, DaVinci Art Alliance, and the Independence Business Alliance. Each event raises thousands of dollars for its intended beneficiary. Most importantly, all of the money that is raised stays in the Philadelphia area and helps those in need within our own community.
We are excited to have recently announced that beginning in April, we will be resuming hosting ONO events again. The first event will be held at the new W Philadelphia Hotel, with additional exciting venues to be announced shortly. All of the upcoming events are being hosted in locations either outside, or in spaces that have a mixture of indoor/outdoor areas.
Anyone interested in joining us for this event can register at dvlf.org/ournightout-philly. Registration is $5 in advance, or $10 at the door. You can also follow us on Facebook or on Instagram. We look forward to seeing you at a future ONO event!