2018 Grantees

After-School All-Stars (ASAS) is a past grantee that provides students with educational opportunities outside of school. In 2018, the ESA Foundation is supporting the ASAS video game design curriculum, Minecraft: Education Edition and 9 Dots, which serves more than 500 students in nine cities. Thanks to the ESA Foundation’s support, the curriculum this year will include a science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) career exploration event in partnership with Verizon.

[Photo: After-School All-Stars brings STEAM lessons through video game design to underprivileged youth in their programs.]

Becker College recently launched its ForEach Academy STEAM Community Outreach Program, which introduces underprivileged seventh and eighth-grade girls to game design and programming and provides hands-on work with augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), design, modeling, and electronics. Support from the ESA Foundation will help in the expansion of this program to ensure more middle-school girls have access to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education, ultimately building the pipeline of future video game makers.

[Photo: Seventh and eighth-grade students participate in the ForEach Academy program and learn the basics of video game design and programming.]


Brown University’s Bootstrap engages more than 25,000 economically disadvantaged students by integrating computing and algebra education in ways that address persistent challenges for learners in both disciplines. With help from the ESA Foundation, 2018 will continue to see the expansion of Bootstrap’s integrated development environment for disabled students in new and innovative ways. With the grantee funding, Bootstrap will be able to bring its integrated programming to Native students in New Mexico, where teachers have shown excitement to implement the game-programming software into their algebra curriculum.

[Photo: Bootstrap expands their integrated algebra and coding video game programming by bringing it to students in New Mexico.]

Extra Life is a 24-hour video game marathon and fundraiser that has raised over $40 million for medical research and treatment at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) across North America since its inception in 2008. As a returning grantee, Extra Life will use its 2018 funding from the ESA Foundation to develop their mobile and social fundraising apps, which will allow participants to fundraise “on-the-go” and will give CMNH the ability to provide suggested messaging for social platforms.

[Photo: Video game enthusiasts of all ages participate in Extra Life’s 24-hour video game marathon and fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.]

Girlstart is a returning grant recipient that promotes young women’s early engagement and academic success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and ultimately resolves the gender gap that currently exists in today’s STEM workforce by serving almost 30,000 girls nationwide. In 2018, Girlstart will use its ESA Foundation grant to offer more free summer camps that encourage girls to participate in STEM activities, with a particular focus on computer science and video game design.

[Photo: Girlstart hosts summer camps and after-school programs to encourage young girls to participate in STEM lessons to help close the gender gap.]

Global Game Jam supports the next generation of game developers by hosting the world’s largest annual game jam. The ESA Foundation will support Global Game Jam’s new youth program GGJNext, a comprehensive week-long curriculum that ends in a youth game jam, where students can showcase the games they spent all-week learning about and creating. Funding from the ESA Foundation will ensure that the week-long program remains completely free and open to all students who wish to learn more about the development of video games.

[Photo: Students participate in Global Game Jam’s GGJNext program to learn video game design and showcase their work in an all youth game jam.]

Global Kids, Inc. programs help youth tap into their curiosities to develop games that have an impact on communities, by giving them access to engaging environments and open-source tech tools. In 2018, the ESA Foundation funding will support the expansion of the nonprofit’s game-design program, Haunts. With this funding, Global Kids will be able to expand this STEM-based learning program to Houston, New York City, and Washington, DC, giving more students the opportunity to create an educational, geo-locative alternative reality game.

[Photo: Global Kids participants use open-source tech tools to create localized video games to learn more about the history and social issues in their neighborhoods.]

iCivics, founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, reinvigorates civics learning through interactive games and resources for middle school students across the country. In 2018, the ESA Foundation will support this returning grantee in creating a Spanish version and corresponding teacher curriculum of its most popular video game Do I Have A Right?, which has been played more than 45 million times. The project will grant English language learners the opportunity to learn more about their rights and partake in civic life.

[Photo: iCivics founder Justice Sandra Day O’Connor interacts with students as they learn civics lessons through iCivics video games like “Do I Have A Right?”.]

Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) is a returning grantee dedicated to the art and artists of the United States. The ESA Foundation will support SAAM’s fourth annual Indie Arcade, a free public program with video game-related exhibits, programming, and workshops that will be held in early August 2018. The event will welcome more than 20,000 visitors from the nation’s capital, Maryland, Virginia, and other states.

[Photo: Youth and adults alike enjoy the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s arcade video game exhibit and programming: The Indie Arcade.]

Scholastic’s Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Inc. empowers creative teenagers in continuously changing artistic fields, including video game design. Thanks to support from the ESA Foundation, the alliance will help develop and expand the reach of its video game workshops to teens in seventh through twelfth-grade. These workshops will introduce students to video game design platforms and teach them successful game structures and storytelling.

[Photo: Middle and high school students from all over the country participate in after-school courses to develop their coding abilities and hone their video game design ideas.]

About ESA Foundation

In January 2000, the Entertainment Software Association board of directors formalized the philanthropic efforts of the association and its members by authorizing the creation of the ESA Foundation.

Over the last 15 years, the ESA Foundation has supported those leveraging interactive technologies to create meaningful opportunity in the lives of America’s youth. In celebration of that work, we invite you read our 2015 Impact Statement.

Our Mission

The ESA Foundation provides scholarships to the next generation of industry innovators and supports charitable organizations and schools that leverage entertainment software and technology to create meaningful opportunities for America’s youth. We seek to harness the collective power of the interactive entertainment industry to create positive social impact in our communities. We support geographically diverse projects and programs that benefit grantees of all ages, races and religions. To date, ESA Foundation has raised more than $20 million for a wide variety of worthy causes.

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