LGBTQ South Florida

World Outgames Miami 2017 receives $225,000 grants from Florida, Miami-Dade County

Miami Herald Staff

World Outgames Miami 2017 co-directors Jim Wilets and Cindy Brown at the reception Sept. 16, 2014, at Miami Beach Convention Center.
World Outgames Miami 2017 co-directors Jim Wilets and Cindy Brown at the reception Sept. 16, 2014, at Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Herald Staff

World Outgames Miami 2017 has received two major grants from the state of Florida/Florida Sports Foundation ($200,000) and Miami-Dade County ($25,000). Previously, the city of Miami Beach donated $100,000 to the games, which will be played May 26-June 4, 2017, throughout South Florida.

Here’s the news release from Out Games Miami:

WORLD OUTGAMES MIAMI 2017 HOSTS 2ND ANNUAL COMMUNITY RECEPTION TO ANNOUNCE SIGNIFICANT MILESTONES

▪ $200,000 Grant Offer from the State of Florida/Florida Sports Foundation

▪ $100,000 Grant from the City of Miami Beach

▪ $25,000 Donation from Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro

With less than 1,000 days to go before Miami and Miami Beach play host to the World OutGames Miami 2017, the host organization of the Games conducted the 2nd Annual World OutGames Miami Community Reception on Tuesday, September 16, to review the accomplishments of the past year and unveil to community leaders, activists and government representatives what lies ahead. Organizers expect to welcome more than 40,000 participants and spectators from around the world when the Games next convene in Miami and Miami Beach from May 26 to June 4, 2017.

During the presentation to nearly 200 guests, Florida House Representative David Richardson revealed a giant check for the host committee, symbolic of a $200,000 grant offer from the State of Florida/Florida Sports Foundation that he helped secure on behalf of the Games. World OutGames Miami will receive the funds in installments beginning in July 2015 and ending in June 2017.

Additional funding was also announced to the crowd – a $100,000 grant from the City of Miami Beach which has already been received, and a new, $25,000 donation from Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, whose district includes portions of Miami and Miami Beach, as well as the communities of Little Havana, downtown and South Beach.

In his remarks, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said the city anticipates rolling out the welcome mat for Games’ spectators and participants and he encouraged the audience to embrace the World OutGames Miami effort. He also referenced the estimated $60 million economic impact the event will bring Miami Beach.

“We look forward to showing these 40,000-plus LGBTQI and straight-ally participants and spectators the diverse and inclusive nature of our city and our people,” Levine said. “And I want to challenge everyone in this room to get involved. Participate in a sport. Volunteer. And donate.”

Diana Rodriguez, Special Assistant Office of the Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County, echoed the sentiment of encouraging people to get involved. She also called attention to the three pillars of World OutGames – sports, culture and human rights.

“We love sports, arts, and culture,” she said. “And we love them because they celebrate human expression, human achievement, and they are a way to bond with others and overcome the barriers that sometimes separate us as people. We are proud to be the host for the World OutGames in 2017 because they represent the openness, inclusion and diversity that Miami-Dade County is known for around the world.”

Bruce Townsend, co-chair of World OutGames Miami, acknowledged that the event is known primarily for the various sporting competitions that take place, but said that the World OutGames is different in that it also stresses the value of human rights and the host city’s distinctive culture.

“We need to have a balance of culture and human rights with sport,” he said. “You cannot truly participate in sports or culture if you do not have the basic rights to do so openly.”

Townsend went on to say that World OutGames will be different from other sporting events and LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex) gatherings because organizers are working closely with the U.S. State Department, American embassies from throughout the world, global experts in their related fields and are proactively emphasizing participation from South America, due to Miami’s status as the “gateway” to that continent.

“Let’s not forget the worldwide appeal of our sun-kissed paradise as a powerful draw as well,” Townsend said.

In addressing the Human Rights Conference component, which will take place during the first three days of World OutGames Miami, Co-Directors Cindy Brown and Jim Wilets said the goal of the conference is to address the most effective ways to consolidate LGBTQI rights gains and respond to the increasing threats against the lives of members of the community in many parts of the world.

“Even as we celebrate same-sex marriage in more countries than ever and in more states of the U.S. than ever, so too are more countries criminalizing same-sex relations. Sometimes with the death penalty,” Wilets said.

Culture Director Jerry Torres then touched on doing what Miami does best: party.

“From the explosive opening ceremonies to the energizing closing ceremonies, there will be a cultural event to satisfy all tastes,” he said. “Beyond dance parties, World OutGames Miami will offer art exhibits, a film festival, cheerleading competitions, chorus and band competitions, a special Women’s Space and, of course, the World OutGames Village, which will be christened with a dazzling Glow Run on the beach. The Village will serve as a meeting site for old friends and new friends and will host daily extravaganzas showcasing our cultural diversity with local, national and international talent.”

“Working closely with the experts at the Miami-Dade Sports Commission and several local and international sports leagues, competitions are being developed in more than 30 events which will take place at venues throughout Miami and Miami Beach,” said Keith Hart, sport director, during his presentation. “Anyone in the room up for beach volleyball? Rugby? Rowing? Track and Field? How about synchronized swimming?”

At the conclusion of the presentation, Justin Bell, CEO of Arc+Arrow Creative Group, unveiled the first component of a multi-level advertising and marketing campaign designed to garner 400 million global consumer impressions for the Games. The campaign titled “What’s Your OUT?” is designed to emphasize the inclusiveness of the LGBTQI and allied communities and to celebrate the differences among individuals. The campaign strives to foster a dialogue among people as to what makes them unique … or “out,” he said.

The Miami Beach-Miami Sports & Cultural League is the non-profit host organization for World OutGames Miami 2017. World OutGames is licensed by GLISA International (the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association) and takes place every four years in a different global city, with 2017 marking the first time that the Games will be held in the United States. Previous hosts have been Montreal, Copenhagen and Antwerp. World OutGames is open to all who wish to participate, without regard to sexual orientation, and all competitions are arranged according to the skill level of the athletes. Cultural and human rights components make the event a well-rounded experience for athletes and non-athletes alike. For more information on World OutGames Miami 2017, visit www.facebook.com/OutGamesMiami.

World OutGames Miami 2017 is made possible with the support of the Florida Sports Foundation, Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau, City of Miami Beach, and Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority.

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