After the most profitable year in Gay Games history, event officials announced the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation will receive $27,000 of the net profit from the games.
The announcement was made at an event wrap-up panel held at the City Club of Cleveland last month. There, Gay Games 9 officials revealed that last year’s games in Cleveland and Akron generated $147,000, making it the most profitable Gay Games in history.
As the platinum sponsor of Gay Games 9, the Gay Community Endowment Fund will receive a portion of the proceeds to further its mission of promoting diversity and inclusion throughout Greater Akron.
The night began with presentations from Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Games’ first presenting sponsor, The Cleveland Foundation, and John T. Petures Jr., President and CEO of Akron Community Foundation.
The event also included a panel discussion moderated by David C. Barnett, Senior Reporter/Producer for WCPN. The panel included John Grafton, from the Gay Community Endowment Fund of the Akron Community Foundation’s Advisory Board, who told the audience about the history of the Fund and how it was one of the first of its kind, not only in Ohio, but across the nation.
Phyllis Harris, Executive Director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, led many of the trainings for area police for the games and spoke of how cooperative they were throughout.
Thomas Nobbe, Executive Director of the 2014 Gay Games, shared two touching stories from the games. The first was about a young man who had received multiple medals from the games, only to find that his mother had put them in the trash. Nobbe went on to share that they were able to replace the medals, showing that although there was positive impact from the games there is a lot of work to be done.
The second story was about an athlete from Russia who competed in the Games. She returned to Russia in hopes of starting her own same-sex couples dance studio. After hearing of the murder of a fellow LGBT community member in Russia, she decided it was time to find a safer place to call home, the U.S. Of all the places in this country, her and her partner chose Cleveland as their prospective new home.
“This gift from the Gay Games will bring the fund’s endowment to nearly $1 million, a remarkable milestone that will ensure we continue to support LGBT initiatives forever,” said Cindy Christman, president of the Gay Community Endowment Fund advisory board.
Nobbe said the record-breaking success of last year’s games was the result of incredible community support. “The ability to give back to the community is a testament to the Gay Games 9 board’s leadership, which placed importance on operating in a fiscally responsible manner, as well as tremendous corporate and individual donor support,” Nobbe said.
Officials also released “The Final Report: By the Numbers,” which summarizes the community and economic impact of the Games on Northeast Ohio. To download the report, or to learn more about the mission of the Gay Community Endowment Fund, visit www.gaycommunityfund.org.
Or, to help the fund reach its $1 million milestone, visit www.akroncf.org/give/GCEF.