The ESA Foundation ended an otherwise challenging 2020 on a high note by exceeding its goal of raising $500,000 via the “Say Goodbye to 2020 for Good” fundraising campaign in the second half of December. The campaign kicked off with a weeklong #gg2020 charity livestream, December 14-18, during which more than 40 streamers helped raise roughly $470,000 for the Foundation and its fellow beneficiaries: Black Girls CODE, Direct Relief, No Kid Hungry, Project Tomorrow, Rise Above the Disorder and Warfighter Engaged. As the campaign continued through December 31, donors contributed another $50K, raising the total to $520,000.
“We have never done anything like this campaign, and we couldn’t be happier,” says Anastasia Staten, executive director of the ESA Foundation. “Thanks to all of the streamers, musicians and athletes who started off playing a Fortnite charity tournament, then entertained viewers and played games all week long to raise money for incredibly worthy causes. Together, we truly helped celebrate the passing of the year by giving to those in need.”
For those who missed the week-long #gg2020 charity livestream, enjoy this highlight reel:
The livestream was supported by Google Play and Twitch, and among the biggest fundraisers, those streamers raising more than $5K for their handpicked charities, were Elyse and James Willems, Queens Gaming Collective, Mr. Sark and Achievement Hunter.
Another highlight of the campaign was the announcement that, for the 2021-22 school year, Gay Gaming Professionals (GGP) will donate a generous gift of $25,000 to the ESA Foundation in support of scholars pursuing video game arts-and-sciences degrees while serving their LGBTQ+ communities. It will mark the third year in which GGP has co-awarded such scholarships with the Foundation.
Roughly half of the $500K raised during “Say Goodbye to 2020 for Good” will go to the ESA Foundation, which, because of the COVID pandemic, lost a substantial amount of revenue in 2020 and had to scale back its number of scholars. The scholarship program, which supports underrepresented students aspiring to careers in the video game industry, provides funds for both financial assistance and professional-development opportunities.
While the money raised in December will help sustain Foundation operations into 2021, the 21-year-old Foundation, which has awarded 400 scholarships total, is still looking to raise considerable funding to continue providing funds and resources.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” says Staten. “We still need support from our friends in the video game industry to ensure that the Foundation, which has already done so much to diversify the industry, can continue to fulfill its mission.”
Looking forward, the ESA Foundation plans to use what it learned from the #gg2020 campaign to expand its fundraising efforts in 2021. “If 2020 proved anything,” explains Staten, “it's that the video game community is as passionate and generous as ever and that the sky's the limit when it comes to virtual fundraising for all kinds of great causes.”