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CONTACT: Dan Hewitt – dhewitt@theESA.com or 202-223-2400

ESA Foundation Awards Grants for Innovative Use of Games, Digital Technologies

Eight Organizations Receive Funding for Programs Benefiting American Youth

February 18, 2015 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eight nonprofit organizations today were awarded grants from the ESA Foundation to advance programs leveraging video games and technology to make a difference in the lives of America's youth. The grantees’ programs range from offering hands-on game design workshops for girls to using video games for vision screenings in schools. The ESA Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic organization begun by the U.S. video game industry.

"Video games can improve lives and expand horizons exponentially. These grantees are harnessing interactive technologies to create innovative solutions to everyday challenges,” said Jenny Lai, vice president of ESA Foundation. “Their programs are closely aligned with the ESA Foundation’s mission to create positive social impact through video games and digital technology, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

These grants will allow the organizations to advance their projects through 2015 and beyond.

2015 ESA Foundation Grantees:

•Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA)
Through project-based learning, BGCA will promote a nationwide science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative to encourage kids and young adults to apply STEM concepts to real-life experiences and improve their local communities.

•Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals
Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life, a 24-hour video game marathon and fundraiser, has raised more than $14 million for CMN Hospitals across the country. The ESA Foundation sponsored the top prizes of $30,000 to the two CMN hospitals whose Extra Life 2014 participants raise the most funds overall and per capita.

•Drexel University
As a leader in collegiate game design programs, Drexel University will 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.

•HopeLab Foundation
HopeLab works to harness the power of technology to improve human health and well-being. Its newest project, Zamzee, encourages physical activity among children and their families. HopeLab will test Zamzee with clinical partners to explore using games as a tool to combat sedentary behavior and prevent the onset of chronic diseases.

•National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCMEC will support the development of NetSmartz Kids Club UYN, an online monthly feature that promotes Internet safety with animated media, interactive activities and more.

• National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
NMAI, a component of the Smithsonian Institution, 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.

•ThanksUSA
As a way to thank the men and women of the U.S. armed services, ThanksUSA provides meaningful educational scholarships for military family members. The ESA Foundation will continue to support ThanksUSA’s Treasure Hunt, an interactive American history game that reinforces the privilege and values of American freedom.

•VisionQuest 20/20
VisionQuest 20/20 aims to protect children and their families from the devastating consequences of undetected vision disorders and preventable blindness. Thirty-five schools across the U.S. will receive EyeSpy 20/20, a vision assessment game, along with supplies and technical support to conduct unlimited screenings.

About ESA Foundation
Created by the American entertainment software industry, the ESA Foundation works to make a positive difference in the lives of America’s youth by providing scholarships to the next generation of industry innovators and supporting charitable organizations and schools that leverage entertainment software and technology to create educational opportunities. ESA Foundation is primarily supported by proceeds from its signature annual fundraiser, “Nite to Unite – for Kids” and other charitable initiatives. For more information, please visit ESA Foundation's website or follow us on Twitter.

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