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

ESA Foundation Raises $900,000 At “Nite To Unite – For Kids”

Funds Raised for Children’s Charities and College Scholarships

NOVEMBER 3, 2011 – WASHINGTON, DC – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation today announced its 14th annual “Nite to Unite – for Kids” gala raised $900,000 to support the Foundation’s work on behalf of America’s youth. The proceeds from the annual dinner, auction and charity casino night will enable the ESA Foundation, the video game industry’s philanthropic arm, to improve the lives of children through grants to a wide variety of organizations, as well as a college scholarship program.

“Thanks to the video game industry’s generosity, the ESA Foundation has raised more than $12 million since its founding, demonstrating the commitment of our industry’s leadership to creating opportunities for children across the country,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, the trade association that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. “This tremendous generosity allows the ESA Foundation to support outstanding charitable organizations that make creative use of video games to educate our children, and to help tomorrow’s innovators receive the training they need to succeed.”

The sold-out gala, which took place October 25 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, honored Mike Morhaime, president, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Over the past two decades, Morhaime transformed Blizzard from a third-party developer into a global enterprise while working to improve the quality of life of children with life-threatening conditions through his support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In recognition of his work, Mr. Morhaime received the 2011 ESA Champion Award and joins Microsoft Corporation’s Robbie Bach, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, Sony Computer Entertainment’s Ken Kutaragi and famed director George Lucas, among other honorees.

The co-chairs for the 2011 event were Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft Entertainment, Inc.; Shinji Hirano, president of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.; and Mike Fischer, president and CEO of Square Enix, Inc. International Data Group (IDG) and GamePro sponsored the casino night portion of the evening.

The 2011 ESA Foundation beneficiaries are:

  • Ball State University Foundation is creating video games to enrich social studies instruction that are available at no cost to schools and libraries.
  • Brown University Department of Computer Science is creating an afterschool program to teach algebraic and geometric concepts through game design.
  • The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is expanding its portfolio of games and activities to teach children about American colonial history.
  • Federation of American Scientists is creating a game to deepen students’ understanding of biology.
  • Games for Change advocates for making and supporting video games for social good.
  • HopeLab Foundation develops video games to educate children about cancer.
  • iCivics, which promotes civic participation and leadership through computer games.
  • Inspire USA Foundation designs and delivers games to promote mental health and prevent teen suicide.
  • Institute of Play seeks to activate the next generation of engaged citizens and learners by leveraging the power of computer and video games.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is investigating new types of education and learning behaviors utilizing video games.
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum will premiere its “The Art of Video Games” exhibition in 2012.
  • ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable organization that provides scholarships and education to children of those serving in the U.S. armed forces.
  • Tiger Woods Learning Center Foundation, which delivers youth education opportunities and scholarships.
  • Web Wise Kids is expanding its suite of computer games that educates children and caregivers on Internet safety topics, including cyber bullying.
  • World Wide Workshop harnesses the potential of computer games to improve learning, leadership and livelihood skills of underserved children and youth.

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 fundraiser. For more information about the ESA Foundation, please visit www.theESA.com/foundation.

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