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Ohio's Longest Running LGBTQ+ Event

A Christmas Dinner and Dance

In 1977, 16 people attended the first Christmas Dinner and Dance in Waterville, Ohio. Hosted by Ed Hoffman, Dick Flock and David Hindall, these men decided to create an event that would bring the LGBTQ+ community together during the holidays. This simple gathering grew and flourished over the following years. In 2007, after 30 years of hosting the Dinner Dance, they asked several new individuals to assume the responsibility of planning the affair. In 2008 it became known as The Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla and was granted 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization. The Gayla continues the original intent as an opportunity for the entire gay community to come together around the holidays, but now we can share the generosity and holiday spirit with organizations that provide support to the LGBTQ+ family.


Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla is committed to developing financial resources to support the Northwest Ohio LGBTQ+ community. We strive to unite our community in celebration, to foster a sense of safety and inclusion, and to raise awareness of concerns that impact LGBTQ+ individuals and groups directly. Holiday with Heart is committed to administer the financial support necessary to further the missions of 501(c)(3) organizations.


Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla is committed to developing financial resources to support the Northwest Ohio LGBTQ+ community. We are accomplishing this by developing the Holiday with Heart Foundation, a donor-directed endowment within the Toledo Community Foundation. The on-going financial support available from a well-funded foundation is crucial to the development of the local LGBTQ+ community. 

2019 Financial Disclosures

2020 Financial Disclosures

2021 Financial Disclosures

Holiday with Heart Awar​ds & Recognition

City of Toledo Proclamations




Gay People's Chronicle

Longest running LGBTQ+ event in the State of Ohio


Equality Toledo

Equality Award 2013

The Holiday with Heart Committee

All committee members and volunteers work without compensation as a labor of love and an opportunity to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community through fulfillment of the established Mission and Vision.

Jack Howard

Committee Chair, Treasurer


Jack is a native Toledoan. After receiving his Masters degree with a major in finance, he worked in banking for 15 year, then started a mortgage company which he owned for 25 years. Jack joined the HwH board in 2017 but his involvement in the LGBT community dates back to 1969 when he was one of the founding members of PRO-Toledo (Personal Rights Organization), served as one of the early presidents, and helped to originate the PROgram, their monthly newsletter (which later merged with TAGALA). Also in 1969, Jack invited personal friends to his house for coffee on a Tuesday night. That became a weekly gathering to socialize as an alternative to going to bars. The event became the weekly PRO coffee group. After PRO disbanded the group rebranded as the Glass City Men’s Coffee Group (GCMCG) who in 2019 celebrated the 50 year tradition, and they still continue to meet today. While enjoying his retirement Jack helps HwH with planning, finances, and contacting sponsors.

Steve Maenle

Assistant Committee Chair 

Sponsorship Coordinator

Steve began working to support the local LGBT community as a student at the University of Toledo working with three other students to form the first official University recognized Gay Lesbian Student Union. In addition, Steve worked with the Office of Affirmative Action to get language protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation included in regulations governing conduct on the campus. After starting to attend the Holiday with Heart event in 2009, Steve began volunteering with the committee, and was pleased to be asked to join as a Board member in 2013. He works to further the work of developing corporate sponsorships, and the HWH website. Steve’s experiences include professional work in the developmental disabilities field. He is currently Executive Director for Manahan, a Toledo non-profit providing services for adults with developmental disabilities. Steve is a Toledo native currently residing with his spouse in the Close Park neighborhood.​

Sue Carter


Beneficiary Coordinator

Susan Carter graduated from the University of Toledo in 1969 with a degree in fine art and began making her living in fashion display at the J.L. Hudson’s store.

Her concern for justice and equality drove her back to UT in 1989 for a Master’s in Counseling and a License in Social Work so she could offer LGBT affirming therapy

in our community. When her best friend, Harold, was diagnosed with HIV in 1990, her life and work were permanently redirected. Louis Escobar gave Sue the

opportunity to become a volunteer support group facilitator for the NOVA Program and David’s House. She also volunteered at the first HIV test site in Toledo inspired by Ann Locher RN. She worked at UTMC for 30 years and has been part of UTMC’s Ryan White program, working with Joan Duggan, MD. These

amazing friends and mentors brought knowledge, purpose, and passion to Sue’s life. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is dedicated to justice and equality and Sue has lent her energy to it since the 1990’s including 10 years as Ohio board president. Today she is active in Lake Erie Activists, a group acting to halt the pollution of Lake Erie and Ohioans to Stop Executions. As for her fine art degree, Sue’s banners and picket signs, are frequently seen at rallies for peace, justice, human rights and the environment.

Rick Cornett

Publicity and Marketing

Rick first attended the event in 1991 and has been an active supporter ever since. In 2000 he started donating his services by making the 300 boutonnieres and pinning them on guests as they arrived. By 2005 Rick joined the board of directors when the new committee was formed and established as a 501c3 non-profit. It was Rick who came up with naming the event Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla. For the past three decades Rick has proudly served the Toledo LGBTQ community lending his time, talents, and voice to the Toledo Pride Festival & Parade, Toledo Pride Center, Decked Out, SRO, Toledo Unity Picnic, and , Sex, Drag and Rock & Roll benefits. In 2010 he established the LGBTG Historical Archives of Toledo to preserve the Toledo area LGBTQ community for future generations. Rick is hands on with all aspects of Holiday with Heart but his primary focus is publicity, advertising and promotion with print, TV, radio, and social media coverage for the event. In 2011 Equality Toledo recognized Rick at their annual awards for his dedication and services to raising awareness and bettering the Northwest Ohio LGBTQ community. A professional floral designer for the past 40 plus years Rick also enjoys photography, history, country music, and proudly living his best life within the Toledo LGBT community. 

David Bingham

David, a long time friend of founding member David Hindall, is not sure when he first attended the Gayla. David became a member of the board of directors when some of the founding members wished to step back from their leadership roles for this event. David’s role on the committee is to do whatever he is told, and be quick about it. He can always be counted on to mix a cocktail or lick a few stamps. In addition to his charity work through Holiday with Heart, David is the board chairman (Senior Warden) at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church where he is active in feeding the poor and providing leadership for the church. Professionally, David is an advanced practice nurse providing psychiatric care through the community mental health organization, Harbor. In March of 2010, David began providing psychiatric care to members of the HIV community through the Ryan White Program at UTMC.

Wayne North

Wayne first attended in 2005 as a guest of some friends and has not missed a year since. Wayne's first Gayla was also the event at which he met his partner, David Bingham. Wayne began working with the Gayla as an understudy to the founders. He made formal application to the State and Federal government, and Holiday with Heart became a recognized charity the next year. As a board member, Wayne works with the other members to create a fun and memorable evening for the guests while raising significant financial support for the charities. His goal has been to expand participation in the event to include a wider representation of the GLBT community. In other roles, he has been associated with Assistance Dogs of America since 1981 and served as Board President for 6 years. He is also active in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Toledo. Wayne manages the financial aspect of the organization. A licensed veterinarian in the State of Ohio and Michigan, he has been in private practice in Perrysburg, Ohio since 1978.

Ed Hoffman


Jo Jakeway

Jo has been on the Holiday with Heart committee since 2015. She started her volunteer career at the age of 14 with the Toledo ZOOTeen program and put in 4500 hours in a 5 year period. After many options and decisions, she has finally found her niche. Jo currently works as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional at Manahan. She wears many hats in the community. In addition to Holiday With Heart, Jo also serves as board president to The Promise House Project. Jo has adopted 9 children. Jo enjoys giving her time to her family including her fiancé, Jenn, and serving the community. Her motto is "Be the Change you wish to see in the world" (--Ghandi).

Nick Nevins