The Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation has made a $100,000 commitment to the 2014 Gay Games. At yesterday’s welcome rally at The University of Akron, area leaders in attendance signed welcome cards that will be given to out-of-town participants of next year’s games.They also signed a banner that will be posted at an Akron venue next year during the Gay Games.
With its elite-level support, the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation is now recognized as the Host Sponsor of the 2014 Gay Games Sports in Akron and Summit County.
The Gay Games will bring in athletes and spectators from all over the world. Events will take place Aug. 9 through 16, 2014, and about one-third of the expected 10,000 Gay Games participants will compete in Summit County events, including:
• Golf at Firestone Country Club
• Marathon, which will use the first half of the Akron Marathon course
• Martial arts at the John S. Knight Center
• Softball at Firestone Stadium and nearby fields
• Soccer at Copley Road fields
• Track and field at the University of Akron
“Akron and all of Summit County have been strong supporters of the Gay Games since the very beginning. We’re excited to have that strengthened even further with the financial support of the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation,” said Steve Sokany, co-chair of the 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation.
Gay Community Endowment Fund Board Chair Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands said, “The Gay Games coming here gives us the wonderful opportunity to show the world and our own neighbors what a strong and supportive LGBT and ally community we have.”
Akron Community Foundation committed $35,000 to the fund’s sponsorship. John Garofalo, vice president of community investment for the community foundation, believes the Gay Games’ impact will extend far beyond the one-week event next August. “The Gay Games is a catalyst for change, and our entire region will be the beneficiary of that change for years to come,” he said.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said he appreciates the opportunity to welcome each and every participant next year before they even come to Akron. “I believe the athletes will come here and not only see that we’re collaborative and working together in a diverse community, but they will also appreciate the many offerings we have for entertainment, sports venues, culture and hospitality.”
Cindy Christman, chair of the 2014 Gay Games Akron Task Force, said she is pleased to have the Gay Community Endowment Fund come on board in such a unique way. “Their contribution demonstrates one more reason why Summit County is such a great place to live and work. We want to unite individuals, businesses and organizations to share that great experience for all the Gay Games participants who will be coming to the Akron area next August.”
The Gay Games is an international sporting and cultural event held every four years under the founding principles of Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best™. Launched in 1982, the Games invite participation from everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status.
For more information, visit www.GG9CLE.com.