ESA Foundation Beneficiaries

* Denotes multi-year commitments.
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2018 Grant Recipients

Previous Beneficiaries

2018 Grant Recipients

After-School All-Stars

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.

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Becker College

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.

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Brown University’s Bootstrap

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.

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Extra Life

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.

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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.

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Global Game Jam

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.

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Global Kids, Inc.

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.

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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.

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Smithsonian American Art Museum

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.

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Scholastic’s Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Inc.

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.

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Previous Beneficiaries

Association of Hole in the Wall Camps

The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps' mission is to provide children with serious medical conditions and life-threatening illnesses a chance to attend summer camps with children who have similar conditions.  Through intentional programming and therapeutic recreation, traditional camp programs are designed to foster self-confidence, enhance coping and resilience and help campers reach beyond the limits of their medical conditions.  The first camp was founded by Paul Newman in Connecticut in 1998; today camps and programs span the globe - reaching children and their families in 39 countries and all 50 US states.

The 2005 ESA Foundation grant enabled camps in New York and Florida to create and maintain web sites that allow campers to interact with friends made at camp, volunteers, counselors and staff throughout the year.  This interaction fosters friendships and offers relief from the isolation children may feel upon returning home and support as their illness progresses.

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Association on American Indian Affairs

The Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) promotes the welfare of American Indians and Alaska Natives by supporting efforts to: sustain and perpetuate their cultures and languages; protect their sovereignty, constitutional, legal and human rights, and natural resources; and improve their health, education, and economic and community development.  AAIA is a national Indian organization, governed by an all-Native American Board of Directors, whose programs fall into four main categories: youth/education, health, cultural preservation and sovereignty.

ESA Foundation awarded a grant to AAIA in 2010 to create interactive web-based learning materials for Native American children to use in learning their Native languages.  This software strengthens tribal communities and enhances the overall well-being and academic achievements of American Indian students through preservation of cultural wisdom contained in language.

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Ball State University Department of History

Ball State University Department of History provides training and materials, and also develops media projects for elementary teachers and students. It creates high-quality media products to enrich the curriculum and instruction of elementary social studies, which are distributed free of charge to schools and public libraries.

ESA Foundation awarded a grant to Ball State University Department of History in 2012 to support the creation of a digital gaming simulation of the Underground Railroad. Through playing the game, upper elementary students learned about the social and geographic aspects of the journey on the Underground Railroad.

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Becker College – MassDiGI

The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) was established in 2011 as the center for economic development and academic cooperation across the Commonwealth. Its mission is to facilitate cooperation among industry, government, and academia; to strategically foster job growth and economic development in Massachusetts; and to grow, attract, and retain digital and video game companies. In 2014, the ESA Foundation supported MassDiGI’s annual Game Challenge, which helped aspiring game designers create games. The ESA Foundation also supported the launch of the MassDiGI 101 program, which included numerous workshops to provide students and teachers with information about how to bring game design and computer programming into the classroom.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of America

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BCGA) received funds to develop a STEM Training Track for Club professionals, which would ensure high quality STEM program experiences in clubs across the country. The ESA Foundation’s support for the STEM program, which encourages kids and young adults to apply STEM concepts to real-life experiences to improve their local communities, is a continuation of a 2016 grant that helped fund the research and piloting of the STEM initiative.

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Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a nationally ranked research university located in Cleveland, Ohio. CWRU improves people's lives through preeminent research, education and creative endeavor. They realize this goal through scholarship that capitalizes on the power of collaboration; learning that is active, creative and continuous; and promotion of an inclusive culture of global citizenship.

ESA Foundation awarded a grant in 2011 to CWRU to support the Great Lakes Game Project Challenge through a partnership between Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case. The Challenge will be directed at high school students in the four states lying adjacent to Lake Erie: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Students will compete to create a video game focused on wind energy and sustainable energy generation.

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Children's Health Education Center

Children's Health Education Center (CHEC) is a member of the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. CHEC and its e-learning programs offer resources and programs for children, teachers, parents and caregivers to help keep kids healthy and safe. These game-based, interactive health education programs are delivered online and align with national health education standards.

The 2011 ESA Foundation grant to CHEC will fund the delivery of "Act Now!", an e-learning bullying prevention program, to over 600 middle school classrooms in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The multiple 45 minute e-learning lessons for 6th- 8th graders will address physical, verbal, emotional and cyber bullying and be accompanied by classroom activities and discussions led by a teacher, counselor or trained professional.  An online staff development and training program for schools and the community, which provides a step-by-step process for creating a bully-free school, is also available.

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Children's Museum of Indianapolis

As the world’s largest children’s museum, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ mission is to create extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences and humanities. With the ESA Foundation’s support, the museum will create interactive video games that will allow children and their families to imagine they are part of a team of astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The games will be available online and on display in the Beyond Spaceship Earth exhibit, which is funded by NASA.

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Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s mission is to engage, inform, and inspire on- and off-site visitors to the colonial capital where they encounter historic events and the diverse people who helped shape a new nation; and to preserve and restore 18th-century Williamsburg so that the future may continue to learn from the past.

In 2012, ESA Foundation supported the Kids Zone, a child-friendly website that introduces young people to Colonial Williamsburg. ESA Foundation’s support enhanced the Kids Zone site and developed new games and activities for youth to enjoy on mobile devices.  

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Computers For Youth

Computers for Youth (CFY) is a national non-profit organization that seeks to enable low-income children to succeed in school by improving their at-home learning environment.  CFY's programs are designed to enhance the educational resources available in children's homes, improve parent-child interaction around learning at home and help teachers connect classroom learning with the home.

The 2008 ESA Foundation grant supported the California expansion of CFY's Take IT Home program.  The Take IT Home program provides participating sixth grade families with a free computer designed as a home learning center, educational software titles, Internet access at reduced cost, bilingual web content, Family Learning Workshops that teach parents and children how to best utilize their computer systems, technical support from CFY's bilingual help desk and additional training.

Back to Top is dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in public schools. improves public education by engaging citizens in an online marketplace where teachers describe specific educational projects for their classrooms and individuals can choose which projects to fund.  Their vision is of a nation where students in every community have the resources they need to learn.  Since launching in 2000, has directed more than $37 Million in resources and experiences for public school students and have empowered more than 150,000 teachers and citizen philanthropists to become change makers.

The 2010 ESA Foundation grant encouraged student and teacher innovation by funding 89 classroom projects which utilized video games or technology in traditional subject areas, reaching nearly 8,000 students in 27 states. The ESA Foundation grant was matched by 316 citizen philanthropists helping to bring $50,000 worth of resources to classrooms in high-need public schools across the country.

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Drexel University

Drexel University, a leader in collegiate game design programs, will use its ESA Foundation grant to offer game development workshops for girls in the Philadelphia region in partnership with TechGirlz, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations. The workshops will give girls a hands-on experience with different technologies and encourage them to pursue degrees and occupations in technology-related industries.

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Edheads creates unique, educational web experiences designed to make hard-to-teach concepts understandable using the power and interactivity of the Internet. They deliver in-depth content in a fresh, exciting style allowing the user to learn intuitively in an online environment. Edheads strives to promote STEM careers to K-12 students nationwide by tying math and science curriculum to real world situations and advancing critical thinking skills.

The 2011 ESA Foundation grant will fund the development of an online interactive engineering design experience centering on nanoparticles. Edheads will work with the Ohio State University Nanoscience and Engineering Center to create the game, which will blend engineering, human health and medicine, and critical thinking skills to appeal to girls ages 15-18 who are considering medical careers.

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EverFi was founded in 2008 to leverage technology to teach K-12 students critical life skills. In partnership with the nonprofit Southeast Community Development Corporation, EverFi launched the Ignition™  Digital Literacy and Responsibility initiative in Los Angeles, CA. and Austin, TX. Ignition™ is a highly interactive, web-based learning platform that educates students about digital citizenship, including digital footprints, securing online identities, cyberbullying, good texting practices, conducting online research, digital time management, and creating multimedia products.

With support from the ESA Foundation, EverFi was able to continue to build relationships with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Austin Independent School District (AISD), and community organizations in both cities to offer Ignition™.

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Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund

Established within one week of the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund's purpose is to provide education assistance for post-secondary study to financially needy dependents of those people killed or permanently disabled as a result of the terrorist attacks and during the rescue activities relating to those attacks. The Fund has already provided millions of dollars in scholarship support, and will continue to provide education assistance through the year 2030.  ESA Foundation made a generous donation to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund in 2002 to support the 9/11 relief efforts.

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Federation of American Scientists*

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is a science policy organization that addresses a broad spectrum of policy issues in carrying out its mission to promote humanitarian uses of science and technology. Its Learning Technologies Program includes research and development to harness the potential of emerging information technologies. FAS created Immune Attack, an educational video game that introduces basic concepts of human immunology to middle school, high school and entry-level college students. 

In 2012, ESA Foundation made a three-year commitment to FAS to help distribute and evaluate the pedagogic use of its Immune Defense game for teaching biology concepts.

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Games for Change

Games for Change (G4C) is the leading global advocate for making and supporting digital games for social impact, and harnessing their power to engage the public in the most pressing issues of our day. It acts as a catalyst for the creation of high quality, high impact educational and social change games.

ESA Foundation awarded G4C a grant in 2012 to expand the impact of its Games for Change Festival and Games for Change Awards. The Festival and Awards bring together leaders from government, corporations, civil society, media, academia, and the gaming industry to explore the impact of digital games as an agent for social change. A national program of award winners were presented in cultural institutions.

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George Mason University

George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity serves as a resource for research, design, and dissemination of digital media for diverse populations. Its goal is to leverage the expertise of scholars and industry professionals from across the country to conduct research, design digital media products, and provide access to quality educational media products for diverse audiences.

In 2013, ESA Foundation awarded a grant to George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity to fund its Saturday game design workshops for middle and high school students from traditionally underserved communities in Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Workshop participants will learn game design techniques using the GameMaker, Scratch, and UNITY development tools, and build technical skills that they can apply on projects that have real value in the world.

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Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

For 100 years, the Girl Scouts of America has empowered a diverse range of girls – many of them from low-income backgrounds – to be effective, self-assured leaders in their schools, families, and communities. In partnership with Women in Games International (WIGI) and E-Line Media, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) plans to develop a video game patch program to interest scouts in game design-related topics and STEM fields.

The ESA Foundation’s grant enabled GSGLA and WIGI to conduct seven hands-on game design workshops for 1,000 girls in the Los Angeles area, with a goal to reach an additional 60,000 girls, parents, and youth mentors through its outreach program to build awareness for future workshops.

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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a leading voice for contemporary art and culture and provides a national platform for the art and artists of our time.  They enhance public understanding and appreciation of contemporary art through acquisition, exhibitions, education and public programs, conservation, and research. 

The 2011 ESA Foundation grant will help fund the creation of a digital youth center to advance next generation learning. The unique environment will inspire creativity and experimentation, from individual projects like website and game design to group projects such as large-scale video productions.

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HopeLab harnesses the power and appeal of technology to motivate measurable positive health behaviors in young people. Since 2006, the ESA Foundation has supported HopeLab’s creation and release of Re-Mission and Re-Mission 2, the online and mobile game that promotes successful, long-term treatment outcomes for adolescents and young adults with cancer. This year, ESA Foundation will help increase the awareness of Re-Mission 2 and commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the original Re-Mission game.

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Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The White House created Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) in 1987 to commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. HHF has been recognized by the White House, Congress, and Fortune 100 companies for its mission to identify, inspire, prepare, and position Latino leaders in the classroom, community, and workforce to meet America’s priorities with a focus on innovation. HHF also promotes Latino cultural pride, accomplishment, and role models.

In 2014, the ESA Foundation grant supported HHF’s Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) Video Game Innovation Fellowship. This new program furthered HHF’s commitment to advancing Latinos, African Americans, and females in STEM careers by awarding 20 youths, ages 16-24, with grants to create video games that solve critical problems in their communities.

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Inspire USA Foundation

Inspire USA’s mission is to help millions of young people lead happier lives. The foundation of its work is the design and delivery of innovative technology-based services that promote mental health and prevent suicide.

In 2012, the ESA Foundation grant allowed Inspire USA to create a Facebook application to raise awareness of the mental health impact of cyberbullying and bring attention to, a cyberbullying resource for teens. The application was developed through a national competition for young programmers to design and build it.

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Institute of Play

The Institute of Play is a design lab and learning center that seeks to activate a next generation of engaged citizens and lifelong learners by leveraging the power of games, game design, and systems thinking.

In 2012, ESA Foundation has granted support to the Institute of Play to design, develop, and launch an online platform, Playforce. Playforce fostered a multi-generational online community of gamers, parents, and teachers. It catalogued educational games that can be used in school settings, allowed kids to gain skills and earn recognition in a way that can be leveraged, and created a community with a common language and framework to assess games as learning objects and advocate for their relevance.

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Just Think Foundation

Just Think teaches young people to lead healthy, responsible, independent lives in a culture highly impacted by media.  They develop and deliver cutting-edge curricula and innovative programs that build skills in critical thinking and creative media production.  Just Think teaches young people media literacy skills for the 21st century.  They have been successfully creating and delivering in school, after school and online media arts and technology education locally, nationally and internationally since 1995.

In 2002 ESA Foundation supported "September 11th: Reflecting, Responding, Helping and Healing" in New York City and Washington, D.C., to help communities with youth affected most by the events of September 11th.  ESA Foundation supported additional education training in Boston and Los Angeles in 2003.

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Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the leader in research leading to a cure for type 1 diabetes in the world.  It sets the global agenda for diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide. JDRF was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes – a disease which strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.  JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. ESA Foundation donated to JDRF's Fund-A-Cure campaign in 2001.

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Lewis and Clark Foundation

The Lewis and Clark Foundation’s Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center’s mission is to impart upon the public a personal sense of President Thomas Jefferson’s vision of expanding America to the west. Specifically, the organization works to inspire awe and awaken curiosity about the challenges faced by Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition as they portaged the great falls of the Missouri River and explored the “unknown.” The Foundation brings to life the daily experiences of the expedition and celebrates the indomitable spirit of human discovery we all share.

In 2013, ESA Foundation supported the Center in developing Meriweather, a historically accurate computer role-playing game based on the Lewis and Clark Expedition to bring the engaging strengths of interactive educational games to youth ages 13 through 20.

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Mothers Against Violence in America

Mothers Against Violence in America (MAVIA) was a nonprofit organization whose goal was to reduce youth violence through grassroots advocacy and student-driven educational programs.  MAVIA established SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) with 100 chapters in schools of all levels.  They collaborated with elected officials and industry representatives to enforce ratings, gun safety and education.  MAVIA received a grant in 2001 to support the expansion of the SAVE program in middle and high schools in six states and to provide training and leadership development for the SAVE program at the University of Michigan.

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National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Since 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NMEC) has served as the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children. Now with better public awareness, training, laws and technology, the recovery rate of missing children has jumped from 62 percent in 1990 to more than 97 percent today. The ESA Foundation will support NCMEC’s development of NetSmartz Kids Club UYN, a monthly online feature that promotes Internet safety with animated media, interactive activities and more.

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National Institute on Media and the Family

Since 1996, the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) has worked to help educate parents and communities about their children's media exposure.  NIMF is an independent, nonpartisan, nonsectarian and nonprofit organization that is based on research, education and advocacy.  Its MediaWise Network helps parents, teachers and community leaders monitor and influence the media world by providing free resource guides, the latest research, blogs and more.

In 2009 ESA Foundation supported SWITCH, a childhood health and wellness program designed to change three key behaviors - physical activity (Do), television viewing/screen time (View) and fruit/vegetable consumption (Chew).  The SWITCH program provides participants, typically 3rd graders, and their families with easy to use tools and resources to make healthy choices.

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National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), a component of the Smithsonian Institution, is dedicated to preserving one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native American artifacts. With support from the ESA Foundation, NMAI will develop The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, an in-gallery game play experience that will explore the importance of the Inka Road and how the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere changed the course of world history.

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Musem of the Moving Image

For over 20 years, the Museum of the Moving Image has used moving image media to advance the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. The Museum presents exhibitions, education programs, significant moving-image works, and interpretative programs, and collects and preserves moving image- related artifacts. It was the first museum to collect and exhibit video games, beginning in 1989 with Hot Circuits: A Video Arcade, and continue to regularly showcase video games in its exhibitions and programs.

In 2013, ESA Foundation funded the Museum of the Moving Image’s education programs related to its landmark exhibition, Spacewar!: Video Game Blast Off, which explored the legacy of Spacewar!, one of the earliest forms of video games.

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One Economy Corporation

One Economy Corporation is a global nonprofit organization that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information to low-income people, giving them valuable tools for building better lives.  They help bring broadband into the homes of low-income people, employ youth to train their community members to use technology effectively, and provide public-purpose media properties that offer a wealth of information on education, jobs, health care and other vital issues.  Their mission is to maximize the potential of technology to help low-income people improve their lives and enter the economic mainstream.

ESA Foundation first supported the expansion of the Digital Connectors program to Chicago, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose in 2009.  One Economy grew these programs with the 2010 ESA Foundation grant.  The Digital Connectors program is the best practice, youth development movement that engages low-income teens and young adults, ages 14 to 21, in leadership development, digital education, life skills management and community service.  By making a difference in their respective communities, taking field trips to high tech companies, hearing from emerging business leaders and connecting to each other through the Connectors Club web site, youth are able to hone technical competencies and grasp lifelong principles that inspire educational advancement and workforce preparation.  The Digital Connectors program was designed to unleash the power of technology for youth and disconnected families. 

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Parents Choice Foundation

Parents’ Choice Foundation is the nation’s oldest nonprofit evaluator of children’s media and toys. Its mission is to provide parents with a trusted, independent resource for recommending toys, games, and media for children and families of all achievements, abilities, and backgrounds.

In 2013, Parents’ Choice received funding from ESA Foundation to develop the methodology and inter-rater reliability for the Ability Index program for digital games, a new nationwide initiative expanding the scope of the 34-year history of the organization’s work to include the products’ therapeutic benefits for children and youth with special needs.

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PAX / Real Solutions to Gun Violence

PAX is a nonpolitical nonprofit organization working with all Americans to help end gun violence against children and families.  PAX's two innovative programs -- SPEAK UP and ASK (Asking Saves Kids) -- offer practical solutions for protecting children from gun violence.  SPEAK UP is a proven national youth violence-prevention initiative that empowers students with critical knowledge and resources to prevent weapon-related violence in their schools and communities.  The SPEAK UP Campaign consists of a national hotline (1-866-SPEAK-UP) for students to anonymously report weapon threats, a mass awareness campaign and a youth education initiative.

ESA Foundation supported the SPEAK UP program in 2006 and 2007 and are pleased to again collaborate with PAX in 2010 and 2011.  This two-year grant supports measurable implementation of the SPEAK UP program in Cumberland County, North Carolina including community outreach and coalition building, 1-866-SPEAK-UP customization, media outreach, education kits and materials as well as assessments.

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Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

The Pulitzer Center has a history of award-winning, innovative multimedia approaches to education and journalism. It works to address issues affecting journalism by supporting journalists’ work and raising awareness about what goes into good journalism.

In 2014, the ESA Foundation supported the Pulitzer Center’s collaboration with Decode Global to create educational games that increase media literacy and global issue awareness among high school students from low-income communities. Specifically, the Pulitzer Center designed Timbuktu: Mali’s Ancient Manuscripts, an immersive role-playing game that allows students to experience being an international journalist. The game aims to teach students about good journalism, help foster their creativity, improve their critical thinking abilities, and enhance their storytelling skills.

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Purdue University - Center for Serious Games and Learning in Virtual Environments

The mission of the Purdue Center for Serious Games and Learning in Virtual Environments is to provide support for implementing, designing and developing serious games and virtual environments for learning; to encourage collaboration across Purdue and with K-12 schools; and, to establish a foundation for securing funding and conducting research at Purdue on the use of serious games and virtual learning environments in education.

ESA Foundation awarded a grant in 2010 to the "Serious Games Center" at Purdue University to develop National Pastime, a citizenship education video game designed to teach middle and high school students about the internment of Japanese-Americans in the United States during WWII.  By immersing players in the internment experience, the game seeks to engage students with their roles as citizens in a democracy, highlight challenges a democracy can face and illuminate the responsibilities of citizens to protect their freedoms.  The grant will also fund the implementation and evaluation of the game in an alternative high school.

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), one of the country’s oldest technological universities, was founded to educate students to apply science to common purposes of life. Its Games & Simulation Arts and Science program prepares students to enter the digital game industry, and its Center for Cognition, Communication and Culture investigates new types of education and learning behaviors.

In 2012, ESA Foundation supported these two RPI programs by working together to develop an immersive environment for children to learn and practice the Chinese language using A Virtual Space for Children to Meet and Practice Chinese. The project supplemented classroom instruction with virtual teachers and provide opportunities for students to practice Mandarin Chinese through conversation and interaction. 

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Save the Children

Save the Children's mission is to create lasting, positive change in the lives of children in need.  They seek to ensure that children in need grow up safe, educated and healthy, and better able to attain their rights.  They provide a wide range of programs including training new mothers with prenatal care, supplying life-saving immunizations for young children, building schools in developing countries and improving literacy and nutrition for children living in rural poverty in the U.S.
ESA Foundation awarded a special Hurricane Katrina relief grant to Save the Children in 2006 to assist the hundreds of thousands of displaced children.  Save the Children set up schools, camps, childcare and counseling centers throughout the Gulf Coast.

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Starbright World - Coping with Chemo

ESA Foundation sponsored the creation of Coping with Chemo through the Starbright Foundation, which was incorporated into the Starlight Children's Foundation in 2005.  Coping with Chemo later became part of Starbright World, the premier online social network for teens with chronic and life-threatening medical conditions and their siblings.  Teens are able to connect with other teens that are at home or in the hospital.  Users post pictures, chat, post blogs and bulletins and find new friends in similar situations.

Coping with Chemo is a series of webisodes written by teens with cancer to help other young people find positive ways to deal with the cancer experience.  Each webisode addresses a different topic -- getting diagnosed with cancer, side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments, telling your friends and celebrating your last treatment.  Coping with Chemo continues to be an important part of Starbright World today.

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Starlight Children's Foundation

The Starlight Children's Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries by providing entertainment, education and family activities that help them cope with the pain, fear and isolation of prolonged illness.  Starlight offers a comprehensive menu of outpatient, hospital-based and web offerings that provide ongoing support for children and families from diagnosis through the entire course of medical treatment.

In 2004, ESA Foundation provided a grant to Starlight in support of the Kids Activity Network (KAN).  The KAN program was an outpatient program designed to meet the emotional needs of seriously ill children and their families with a variety of events and outings each month throughout the United States.  In 2007, the ESA Foundation awarded a joint grant to support distribution of HopeLab's Re-Mission game through the Starlight Starbright Foundation's PC Pals computer network and to cancer camps in the United States.

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Street Law

Street Law is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing practical, participatory education about law, democracy and human rights.  Through its philosophy and programs, people are empowered to transform democratic ideals into citizen action.

YouthVision was a program that challenged young people to design creative ways to resolve problems by addressing conflict, prejudice or violence in their school or community.  It was a collaborative effort of five organizations: the Conflict Resolution Education Network, the Center for Youth as Resources, the National Crime Prevention Council, the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution and Street Law.  A grant by ESA Foundation sponsored the participation of youth Advisory Committee members and alumni in the annual "Take the Challenge" YouthVision Leadership Training in Washington, D.C., and of the enhancement of the YouthVision initiative's web strategies in 2001.

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Students Against Violence Everywhere

The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), Inc. is a nonprofit organization striving to decrease the potential for violence in our schools and communities by promoting meaningful student involvement, education and service opportunities in efforts to provide safer environments for learning.  SAVE has a triad approach in addressing violence in schools and communities that includes: 1) conflict management, 2) crime prevention and 3) service to the community.  SAVE has 1,800 chapters in 47 states in elementary, middle, high schools, colleges and youth-serving community organizations across the country. 

Through ESA Foundation funding, SAVE administered 40 grants to community chapters in 2005 and 2006 to implement violence prevention strategies so that all students will be able to attend schools that are safe and secure, free of fear and conducive to learning.  SAVE has received several Inspiration in Prevention Awards from Youth Crime Watch of America and the National Crime Prevention Council.  Individual members of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB), whose national violence prevention activities were supported in part by the ESA Foundation, have received numerous Presidential Student Service Awards. 

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Summer Lovin'

The ESA Foundation was the title sponsor in 2005 for Summer Lovin', a high profile fundraising reception to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Back on Track, a tutoring program for low-income children.

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ThanksUSA is an effort to mobilize Americans to “thank” the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. It provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel. It also offers Treasure Hunt, a digital American history game that reminds players of the freedom and values sustained by members of the armed services. The ESA Foundation has supported Treasure Hunt since 2009, and will continue to do so in 2015.

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The Animation Project

The Animation Project (TAP) offers a compelling and revolutionary form of animation therapy that, by taking full advantage of adolescent's interest in video games, propels adolescent development in the emotional, social and cognitive areas.  TAP's technology-based group therapy builds self-esteem, pre-planning and collaborative skills as well as technical abilities.  The combination of improved mental health with newly acquired hi-tech aptitudes prepares the adolescents for success in the modern workplace.

The 2009 ESA Foundation grant supported expansion of TAP's 3D Computer Animation therapy to at-risk adolescents in New York and New Jersey.  Working in support groups, youth make their own videogame-scenarios and animations that are used over the course of the program as a therapy vehicle.  A licensed art therapist and a professional computer animator lead the groups.

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The Cooper Institute

The Cooper Institute (CI) is a research and education organization dedicated globally to preventive medicine. The Institute's founder, Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., the "Father of Aerobics," was an Air Force physician who became interested in the role of exercise in preserving health. When he published his first best seller, Aerobics, in 1968, he introduced a new word and was the spark for millions to become active.

In January 2010, the Texas Department of Agriculture awarded CI with a grant to develop NutriGram, a data-driven and interactive, web-based educational application for schools, teachers, and parents to improve healthy eating knowledge, attitudes and behaviors for students in grades 3-5. The web site will host the first 3D nutrition game called The Quest to Lava Mountain, specifically designed for elementary-age students for use in classrooms or at home, empowering students to eat well and move more, while having fun. ESA Foundation awarded CI a grant in 2011 to develop enhancements and additional interactive web based games for the NutriGram program.

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The Survivors Fund

The Survivors' Fund was established to support the long-term recovery of individuals and families affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack at the Pentagon.  The goal of the Survivors' Fund was to help survivors and their families receive the assistance and services they needed to rebuild their lives.  The Fund partnered with Northern Virginia Family Service to provide case management services and financial support to 1,051 individuals in 517 families.  The Survivors' Fund ceased operations in 2008.  ESA Foundation made a donation to the Survivors' Fund in 2002 in support of the 9/11 relief efforts.

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Tiger Woods Learning Center

The mission of the Tiger Woods Learning Center (TWLC) is to deliver unique experiences and innovative educational opportunities for youth worldwide. Since its inception in 2006, TWLC has benefited more than 50,000 students through programs emphasizing STEM learning, college preparation, career exploration, the arts, sports, and community service.

In 2014, the ESA Foundation grant supported TWLC’s computer and engineering programs delivered at campus locations across the country. Through these programs, hundreds of disadvantaged students learned about video game design and object-oriented programming using Multimedia Fusion Developer 2, while exploring careers related to the video game industry. 

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Trust for Representative Democracy

The Trust for Representative Democracy, a program of The National Conference of State Legislatures, involves legislators in democracy education outreach by bringing civics to life for students across the country.

In 2013, ESA Foundation awarded funding to the program to develop The American Democracy Game, a new interactive game that will place students in the shoes of a lawmaker.

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University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is a comprehensive research university with a broad mission of undergraduate and graduate education, research, and public service. For the second straight year, its College of Education (COE) ranked #1 in the nation among public universities according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

In 2013, ESA Foundation funded the university’s COE Alien Rescue program, an award-winning, immersive, media learning program that aims to help middle school students develop problem-solving, collaboration, decision-making, and other critical 21st century thinking skills, and also motivate them to learn science.

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Vision Quest

VisionQuest (VQ20/20)’s mission is to protect children and families from devastating academic, psychosocial, and lifelong economic consequences of undetected vision disorders and preventable blindness. VQ20/20 is a returning grantee and received 2017 funds to bring gamified vision screening to schools in Hawaii and Arizona using the entertaining and medically validated EyeSpy 20/20 video game technology. Through this project, VQ20/20 expects to provide 25,000 vision screenings thanks to ESA Foundation funding. The project will also propel the Hawaii partners to achieve statewide implementation within 3-5 years.

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Web Wise Kids

Web Wise Kids (WWK) teaches kids, parents, and the community how to make safe and wise choices in a technologically-evolving world by creating and distributing interactive content through the media to influence youths’ lives. Its games include MISSING, Air Dogs, and Mirror Image, which teach students to stay safe online, and IT’S YOUR CALL, a game about cell phone and texting privacy.

In 2012, ESA Foundation supported the development of a game concept based on current Internet safety issues, including cyberbullying, social media, and keeping reputations safe. ESA Foundation also supported a national contest that engaged students ages 14-18 in the development of the game. 

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Work, Achievement, Values and Education

Work, Achievement, Values and Education's (WAVE) mission is to motivate at-risk youth to complete school, lead productive lives and make a valuable contribution to their communities.  For 38 years, WAVE has been an innovator in the youth development field with its dropout prevention, recovery programs and experience working with community organizations and local youth development professionals.  Since the organization's inception, WAVE's specially designed curricula and training programs have reached over a half a million youth in 550 programs across 40 states.

In 2004, the ESA Foundation established the ESA Foundation-WAVE Incentive Grants Program to bring WAVE's expertise to needy communities with the goal of helping more school dropouts and potential dropouts change the course of their lives.  From 2006 through 2008 ESA Foundation helped WAVE to serve youth and train teachers and youth development professionals working in New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, DC and Florida.  In 2007, ESA Foundation also funded an independent evaluation, which clearly showed that WAVE positively influences the developmental trajectories of youth, and as a result, they are able to defy the negative predictions that have been made about their futures.

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World Wide Workshop Foundation

World Wide Workshop (WWW) works to harness the potential of computers and the Internet to enhance technological fluency for creative learning, leadership, innovation and livelihood skills among underserved children and youth worldwide. It developed the Globaloria learning network to leverage game design to empower youth in disadvantaged communities.

In 2014, the ESA Foundation grant allowed for the expansion and continued support of WWW’s original pilot program of Globaloria.

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WGBH is a public service media producer for New England – on TV, radio, the Web, and in the community.  It is the single largest producer of PBS prime time and online programming, and a major source of programs heard on public radio from coast to coast.  WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in media access technologies for people with hearing or vision loss.  WGBH created THE GREENS, a web site geared towards kids ages 9-13 offering flash-animated episodes, interactive games and quizzes, engaging dialogues, a blog and other activities that illustrate environmental concepts and suggest ways to make a difference.

ESA Foundation awarded WGBH a grant in 2009 to help develop online animations and games that teach tweens how to live sustainable lifestyles, which are the centerpiece of THE GREENS web site (  The games and animations guide kids in a critical exploration of green choices, prompt real-world action and underscore a shared relationship with others worldwide in facing environmental challenges.  Project advisors include the Earthwatch Institute, the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the North American Association for Environmental Education.

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