CHICAGO – The contributions made by the Illinois business community toward the work of Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, continue at a robust pace, fueled by a shared belief that fairness and inclusiveness are not only the right thing to do but are also good business practices.
 
"Some of the world's most recognizable corporate and brand names are among those who continue to support our work," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. "They were on board for the campaign to secure the freedom to marry and remain steadfast as we continue to fight for full equality and to protect LGBT youth."
 
For the upcoming 2015 Equality Illinois Gala on Valentine's Day, February 14, in the Hilton Chicago, the Midwest's largest LGBT formal event, more than a score of businesses are Gala Sponsors, and many dozens more are supporting our work by donating items for the luxury silent auction.
 
The Gala's presenting sponsor is Wirtz Beverage Illinois.
 
Gold sponsors are BMO Harris Bank, Exelon, GCM Grosvenor, Leo Burnett, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, MillerCoors, Omnibus Advertising and Marketing, Sidetrack, and United Airlines. 
 
Silver sponsors are Coca Cola, Hilton Chicago, J&L Catering, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Schiff Hardin LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, and Winston & Strawn LLP. 
 
Bronze sponsors are Baker & McKenzie LLP, Chapman and Cutler LLP, Dream Town Realty, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Mariano’s, McGuireWoods LLP,  Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, ReedSmith LLP, Supergurl Images, and Walgreens. 
 
Media sponsors are Bestgaycities.com, Chicago Phoenix, ChicagoPride.com, GC Magazine, GRAB Magazine, Michigan Avenue Magazine, The L Stop, and Windy City Media Group.
 
In addition to their support through the gala, many businesses contribute resources throughout the year, whether it is United Airlines being the exclusive airline for Equality Illinois, the pro bono work of many law firms, or the assistance and publicity for our fundraising events from companies such as Wirtz Beverage and media outlets.
 
"The most significant contributions these businesses make is supporting equality in their workplaces and in the community. Having prominent corporate backers behind an effort such as achieving marriage equality is a message to policy makers and the public that the fairness we are seeking is good for business and good for the state," Cherkasov said.
 
Every year Equality Illinois recognizes the significance of the efforts of the corporate world in securing LGBT equality by presenting a Business Leadership Award. This year's recipient is GCM Grosvenor and its Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Sacks for the prominent role played in spearheading business support in the fight for marriage equality.
 
The award will be presented at the 2015 Equality Illinois Gala, chaired by Mariterese and Patrick Balthrop. The gala begins at 6 PM on Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14, 2015, in the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, with cocktails and the silent auction of luxury items and fun experiences in the Grand Ballroom. At 8 PM, the expected 1,400 guests move into the International Ballroom for the gourmet dinner and program, followed at 10 PM by dancing till midnight.
 
Tickets and more information about the gala are available at www.eqil.org/gala.
 
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