The Cleveland Foundation will pay $250,000 to become the games’ first-ever presenting sponsor, Gay Games spokesman Tom Nobbe said Wednesday.
“It gives us the opportunity to express our strong support for justice and equality for the LGBT community,” Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronald B. Richard told The Plain Dealer. “We’re more excited about making sure Cleveland is seen globally as a truly modern, inclusive city, where everybody is more than welcome.”
Ernst & Young, the London-based global accounting firm, also will sponsor the games to the tune of at least $100,000 in cash and services, Nobbe said.
Ernst & Young’s Americas Managing Partner Steve Howe said: “Ernst & Young knows that fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace leads to better results — for our clients and our high-performing teams. Sponsoring the Gay Games underscores our commitment to leading in the market with our diversity and inclusiveness initiatives and to making inclusiveness real for everyone.”
Ernst & Young has been awarded 100-percent ratings in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for eight consecutive years.
Nobbe said he expects more corporate sponsors to support the games and the ideals they represent.
“It’s a sign of the times,” he said.
The Gay Games is expected to bring 11,000 participants and 30,000 total visitors to northeastern Ohio. The event was started in 1982 by Tom Waddell, a former U.S. Olympic decathlete who died in 1988.