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

ESA Foundation Announces Grant Opportunity for Educators

Challenge Grant Offers Funding for Enhancing Education

February 7, 2012 – Washington, DC –The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation, in collaboration with The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), and The California Endowment today announced a new grant program for K-12 educators seeking to incorporate computer and video games into their curricula.

"Video games can be powerful learning tools inside the classroom. Their interactivity and advanced technology enable educators to capture students' interest and encourage their creativity as they hone critical 21st century skills," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, the trade association that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. "The ESA Foundation is proud to support innovation and achievement in the realm of education, and we believe that games can help inspire a more digitally advanced generation of students."

The ESA Foundation will work with its partners to enlist a blue ribbon panel of educators and game developers to serve as judges. The panel will choose Education Challenge Grant winners based on their demonstrated ability to utilize computer and video games to both strengthen their current curricular offerings and create new learning experiences for students. Winning submissions will receive grants in the amounts of $15,000, $20,000, and $40,000 to implement their proposed projects.

The competition will foster a unified movement around the incorporation of video games into the classroom environment. The goal of each proposal will be to harness the excitement and energy of playing video games into positive, measurable outcomes that advance students' educational experiences.

"The Challenge Grant offers schools a chance to utilize the latest digital tools to assist their students' academic growth," said Charles D. Ferguson, president of the FAS. "It is widely recognized that Americans need to get serious about math and science education or risk being marginalized by other nations. Bringing new and engaging software into schools provides an instant boost to this effort."

"The ESA Foundation is a natural partner for us in this effort, and grants like this support our core mission – preparing future generations of students for a highly digital 21st century," said Michael H. Levine, executive director of the Cooney Center.

"The Association for Middle Level Education is pleased to continue its partnership with the ESA Foundation," said Dr. Drew Allbritten, executive director of AMLE. "Technology is already an important factor in the lives of American students, and we hope to promote the use of digital tools to assist their development in the classroom."

"We see the Education Challenge Grant program as complementary to our ongoing efforts to promote healthy and innovative environments in schools, and to improve the learning experience for our nation's young people," said Kathlyn Mead, executive vice president and chief operating officer of The California Endowment.

Educators interested in applying for the Education Challenge Grant program can visit www.esafoundation.org/challenge-grant.asp for additional information and an application form. Completed applications must be submitted by April 6, 2012 and winners will be announced in the spring of 2012.

The ESA Foundation was created by the American entertainment software industry to provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America's youth. The Foundation is fully supported by proceeds from their limited edition charity game pack's sales and "Nite to Unite for Kids," its annual fund-raiser, which has raised more than $12 million in the last 13 years. For more information about the ESA Foundation, please visit www.esafoundation.org.

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