The 'why' from sponsors

From corporations with global operations to civic groups to local independent shops, 100+ organizations have come together to support the 2014 Gay Games with more than $3 million in sponsorships, grants and in-kind deals. For businesses not typically associated with sponsorship of sporting events, the Games have presented a unique opportunity to get off the sidelines – all while showing support for the LGBT community.

See what the leaders of several 2014 Gay Games sponsoring organizations have to say:


“Cleveland Clinic is committed to cultivating a welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds both within our organization and in the region. We were one of the first local employers to offer benefits to same sex couples as a part of our mission to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion. Our support for the 2014 Gay Games aligns our expertise in caring for athletes of all levels with our commitment to promoting inclusion in the communities in which we work, live and play. ”

- Le Joyce Naylor 
Executive Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion | Cleveland Clinic


“We are always happy to support important initiatives that generate energy, and allow us to showcase Northeast Ohio. An event of this magnitude will draw visitors to our region and show them what a fantastic place this is to live, work and play.”

-Randy Myeroff
CEO | Cohen Fund Audit Services


“COSE is really excited to be participating as a Community Partner in the upcoming 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland/Akron. By attracting 20,000 visitors and creating more than $40 million in economic impact to this region, not only will the small business community benefit from this world class event, but our entire region will bask in the international spotlight.”

-Steve Millard
President & Executive Director | Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)


“Eaton is a committed corporate citizen and highly supportive of the communities where our employees live and work. We value the strength diversity brings to our businesses and our communities around the world. Participating in the 2014 Gay Games is a way for us to openly and actively demonstrate our support for the LGBT community. Eaton has had a presence in Northeast Ohio since 1914 and we recognize the Gay Games as a tremendous opportunity to showcase the region’s diverse assets to an international audience, hopefully leading people to return here for business, pleasure or even to live.”

-Cathy Medeiros
Vice President, Global Inclusion and Diversity | Eaton Corp.


"Ernst & Young LLP is proud to support the 2014 Gay Games. Our involvement is another reflection of our longstanding commitment to LGBT inclusion, and it affords our people meaningful opportunities to participate, volunteer and ultimately advance EY’s purpose of building a better working world. This progressive event also enriches and diversifies the wide range of elite sports initiatives that EY and its member firms support given the leadership potential they unlock. Additionally, Ernst & Young LLP is thrilled that the Games present us with yet another opportunity to build upon our rich history in Northeast Ohio.” 

-Karyn Twaronite
EY Americas Inclusiveness Officer | Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

“History is being made in many ways with the 2014 Gay Games being held in Cleveland+Akron. FIT Technologies is proud to support this opportunity to raise awareness of inclusivity and help create positive social change. Along with this chance to change hearts and minds, the Gay Games will bring a $40 million boost to the economy and allow the region to showcase its amazing assets, welcoming residents, thriving communities and progressive businesses.”

-Michelle Tomallo & Micki Tubbs
Co-Founders | FIT Technologies

“Diversity and inclusion are core values for Forest City, and those values are at the heart of the 2014 Gay Games. We’re also committed to Northeast Ohio and Cleveland, our hometown and headquarters city. The Gay Games will not only engage the region and boost our economy, but it will help project an image nationally and internationally of a world-class, vibrant and progressive region.”

-Jeff Linton
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Community Relations | Forest City Enterprises


“GE Lighting is proud to have a global employee base that is representative of all backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations. We demonstrate our support for an inclusive workforce by participating in numerous events that showcase the interests and diversity of our employees. The Gay Games are yet another way to encourage acceptance across all of the communities in which we live and work.”

-Deandra Williams
Diversity Leader | GE Lighting


“Marriott’s partnership with the 2014 Gay Games is a win-win. Through our support for the Games, we combine America’s love of sporting competition with our long history of embracing the LGBT community too. We know that every guest must feel special, comfortable and welcome when they stay at any one of our portfolio of brands. That’s the exact same feeling the Gay Games inspires in everyone, and why our message, ‘Be You, With Us,’ is such a great fit.”

-Kristine Friend
Sr. Director, Segment Marketing | Marriott International

“The Sherwin-Williams Company is proud to join our community as one of many companies sponsoring the 2014 Gay Games. Sherwin-Williams and the Northeast Ohio community welcome all the participants and dedicated volunteers and look forward to sharing our beautiful hometown with so many visitors from around the world. Our company has made this great city home for 148 years – and we know all who visit will enjoy Cleveland’s people and attractions.”

-Chris Connor
Chairman & CEO |The Sherwin-Williams Co.


“Our organization is very active in financial planning for the LGBT community, so it was a natural fit for us to support the Gay Games. Having the games in Cleveland sends a message to the world that goes beyond the spirit of competition and athletics. The Midwest region is not necessarily known as being progressive, but Cleveland is a community made up of people with diverse backgrounds.We’re accepting to all people. Funding a good event that furthers that message is something we’re proud to be a part of.”

-Daniel J. Brennan
Chief Marketing Officer | Skylight Financial Group

"We are proud to serve as the exclusive airline for this international celebration of community and competition. The Gay Games reflect United’s working together culture – based on dignity, inclusion and respect. Supporting them is another way we can honor the diversity of our customers, employees and the communities we serve. We look forward to welcoming each of the athletes to Cleveland, a key city in our global route network.”

-Nene Foxhall
Executive Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs | United Airlines


“University Hospitals is committed to equity, dignity and respect for all members of our society and pleased to be a sponsor of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland + Akron. Supporting the Gay Games is consistent with our commitment to nurture and strengthen a culture of diversity and inclusion, both within our system and across the communities that we serve.”

-Susan V. Juris
President | University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center