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GCEF awards funds for local Gay Games projects

4/10/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

AKRON — The Gay Community Endowment Fund (GCEF) of Akron Community Foundation (ACF) recently awarded seven grants totaling $25,725 for projects supporting the 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation. ACF’s board ratified the grants at its recent quarterly meeting.

Coming to Cleveland and Akron in August 2014, the Gay Games is a world-renowned sports and culture festival that emphasizes inclusion and participation, according to ACF officials. Nearly two-thirds of the grants awarded by the GCEF supported Gay Games-related arts and culture programming, including dance performances, concerts and theater productions. Other grants will fund conferences held before and during the Gay Games that raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

In October, the GCEF announced a $100,000 commitment to the 2014 Gay Games, making the fund the official host sponsor of 2014 Gay Games sports in Akron and Summit County. The commitment — which includes $35,000 from ACF, a $10,000 contribution from Ron Bailey and Bill Edwards, and proceeds from the fund’s 2013 Sugar Plum Tour — is the largest collective award in GCEF history.

The following grants were approved:

  • Actors Summit, for productions of the critically acclaimed “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding” during the week of the Gay Games, $3,000;
  • Akron Area Arts Alliance, for a real-time digital and online photography exhibit that captures the community pride sparked by the Gay Games, $5,000;
  • Akron Independent Film Festival Inc., for screenings of LGBT-inclusive films the week before and during the Gay Games, $1,000;
  • Community AIDS Network, for a one-day conference at The University of Akron that explores LGBT issues in sports and culture, with a particular focus on LGBT elder, youth and transgender issues, $5,000;
  • Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for a special “Music in the Meadow” concert for Gay Games participants and the general public, $5,000;
  • Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, for an LGBT awareness and inclusiveness program for small business and nonprofit government professionals held in the weeks leading up to the Gay Games, $3,725; and
  • Verb Ballets, for the creation of LGBT-themed dance performances that will increase public awareness and excitement about the Gay Games, $3,000.
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