This year, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation, the U.S. video game industry's philanthropic arm, celebrated 15 years of giving back to local communities. Through our work with partner organizations and the future leaders of our industry, we have maintained a commitment to supporting programs and opportunities that make a difference in the lives of America's youth through education - a commitment we're excited to continue in the future.
As we mark this occasion and look ahead to future giving, here are five numbers that show how our industry is creating impact.
230: college scholarships provided to women and minority students who are pursuing degrees leading to careers in computer and video game arts.
For Drexel University Game Art & Production major Anna Nguyen, her ESA Foundation scholarship allowed her to pursue her passion - and a second degree.
"When my sister enrolled into university shortly after I did, I had concerns about my financial situation. The ESA Foundation scholarship gave me the opportunity to focus on my studies and has helped me pay for extra credits towards a second minor degree. Not only did the scholarship give me ease of mind, I pushed myself even harder to make the most out of my scholarship."
$700,000: approximate amount provided to scholarship recipients, like Capri Kowsky, a Media Arts & Animation major at the Art Institute of Ohio - Cincinnati. Capri used her scholarship to buy software that she needed for her coursework which helped her develop valuable skills in graphic modeling and animation. Through her work in game design, Capri hopes to help create a more empathetic and understanding world.
"Whether people realize it or not, art in general has the power to influence and teach. Video games and animation continue to grow in popularity and consistently reach a large demographic around the world. Media artists can reach out to more people than ever before and go beyond simply entertaining the masses to help stamp out old and outdated beliefs and create a better understanding of each other as individuals and members of the human community."
114: grants, including six multi-year grants, to nonprofits that leverage entertainment software and technology to create meaningful opportunities for America's youth.
For iCivics Executive Director Louise Dubé, the ESA Foundation's support has helped her organization, which offers web-based games that provide instruction on a variety of civics topics, bring classrooms into the 21st century. "The ESA Foundation has been a reliable, wonderful partner that understands gaming and using digital resources in the classroom, and that's hard to find," she said. "Together we've made and upgraded good learning games that kids love and that get them excited about civic education."
59: charities and nonprofits supported by ESA Foundation grants. ESA Foundation-supported partners range from universities to youth and women's organizations and nonprofits benefiting our veterans.
These grants have helped the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles develop a video game patch program to interest scouts in game design-related topics and STEM fields, ThanksUSA provide scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel, and Brown University - Bootstrap apply game programming to teach urban middle school students algebra and geometry concepts.
$7 million and $20 million: amount raised by this year's Extra Life and the program's seven-year overall fundraising total, respectively - both all-time highs. Extra Life, an annual video game marathon that raises money for Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, has been an ESA Foundation partner since 2011.
"ESA Foundation just threw their arms around this Foundation when we were still in our infancy and helped us grow our team," Extra Life founder Jeromy Adams said. "It was amazing, we have some really amazing people out there and the ESA Foundation seems to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our gamers and motivate them to do great things for local kids."
The 2015 event also featured the second annual ESA Foundation Extra Life Challenge, which offers additional $30,000 grants for the hospital whose players raise the most money during the marathon and the hospital with the highest per capita fundraising.
As we look ahead to 2016, we at ESA and the ESA Foundation are grateful for the work of our partner organizations and the millions of video game fans around the world who are committed to making a difference. We are proud and honored to be a part of a community of players that actively seeks to give back to their communities. We hope you will join us in supporting these causes.