Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), a nationally ranked research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, improves lives through preeminent research, education and creative endeavors. The ESA Foundation awarded a grant supporting the Great Lakes Game Project Challenge through a partnership between the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments and the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case. The challenge involved high school students in the four states surrounding Lake Erie: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Students competed to create video games focused on wind energy and sustainable energy generation.
Parents’ Choice Foundation, a nonprofit evaluator of children’s media and toys, provides parents with a trusted, independent resource for recommending toys, games and media for children and families of all backgrounds. It received funding from the ESA Foundation to develop the methodology and inter-rater reliability for the Ability Index program for digital games. The nationwide initiative expanded the scope of the organization’s more than three decades of work to include identifying products’ therapeutic benefits for children and youth with special needs.
The TGR Learning Labs delivers unique experiences and innovative educational opportunities to youth worldwide. Since 2006, it has benefited more than 165,000 students through programs emphasizing STEM learning, college prep, career exploration and community service. An ESA Foundation grant supported the Lab’s computer and engineering programs delivered at campuses across the country. Hundreds of disadvantaged students learned about video game design and object-oriented programming while exploring careers related to the video game industry.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America received funds from the ESA Foundation to develop a STEM Training Track for club professionals to help ensure high-quality STEM program experiences in clubs across the country. The program encourages kids and young adults to apply STEM concepts to real-life experiences to improve their local communities. The Foundation kicked off its support with a grant that helped fund the research and piloting of the STEM initiative and continues to support the organization’s programming.
The Pulitzer Center addresses issues affecting journalism by supporting reporters’ work and raising awareness about the elements of good journalism. The ESA Foundation supported the Center’s collaboration with Decode Global to create educational games that increase media literacy among low-income high school students. Specifically, they designed Timbuktu: Mali’s Ancient Manuscripts, an immersive, role-playing game that allows students to step into an international journalist’s shoes. The goal of the game is to help foster creativity, improve critical thinking and enhance storytelling skills.
Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) strives to decrease the potential for violence in schools and communities by promoting meaningful student involvement, education and service opportunities. It has 1,800 chapters in 47 states in K-12 schools, colleges and youth-serving organizations. Through ESA Foundation funding, SAVE administered 40 grants to community chapters to implement violence prevention strategies so that students can attend secure schools conducive to learning. SAVE has received several Inspiration in Prevention Awards from Youth Crime Watch of America and the National Crime Prevention Council.
ESA Foundation awarded Boston’s PBS television station, WGBH, with a grant to help develop online animations and games that teach tweens how to live sustainable lifestyles through a website called THE GREENS. The games and animations guide students in a critical exploration of green choices, prompt real-world action and underscore messaging and information provided by Earthwatch, the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the North American Association for Environmental Education.
The Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) promotes the welfare of American Indians and Alaska Natives by supporting efforts to, among other things, sustain and perpetuate their cultures and languages and improve their health, education and economic and community development. The ESA Foundation awarded AAIA a grant to create interactive, web-based learning materials for Native American children to use in learning their native languages. The software strengthens tribal communities and enhances the overall well-being and academic achievements of American Indian students through preservation of cultural wisdom.
The White House-created Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) commemorates the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month. Its mission is to identify and position Latinx leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities with a focus on innovation. HHF also promotes Latinx cultural pride, accomplishment and role models. An ESA Foundation grant supported HHF’s Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) Video Game Innovation Fellowship. The program furthered HHF’s commitment to advancing Latinxs, 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.
One Global Economy Corporation is a nonprofit providing low-income people with powerful tech tools and information to build better lives. ESA Foundation grants helped One Global Economy expand its Digital Connectors program, which engages low-income teens and young adults in leadership development, digital education, life-skills management and community service. The students take field trips to high-tech companies, hear from emerging business leaders and connect with each other through the Connectors Club website, with the goal of improving their technical competencies and grasping lifelong principles that inspire educational advancement and workforce preparation.
The Animation Project (TAP) is a therapeutic workforce-development program which unlocks the creative potential of young people with drive and animation talent. It helps adolescents in New York City and New Jersey prepare for careers in the animation industry through software training and professional development exercises. An ESA Foundation grant supported expansion of TAP's 3D Computer Animation therapy for at-risk adolescents. Working in support groups, the youngsters created video game scenarios that were used over the course of the program as therapy vehicles.
The Cooper Institute (CI) is a research and education organization dedicated globally to preventive medicine. In 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 promote healthy eating habits for students in grades 3-5. The website hosted the first 3D nutrition game called The Quest to Lava Mountain, specifically designed for use in classrooms or at home, empowering students to eat well and move more while having fun. The ESA Foundation awarded CI a grant to develop enhancements and additional interactive web-based games for the NutriGram program.
HopeLab leverages the appeal of technology to motivate measurable positive health behaviors in young people. The ESA Foundation supported HopeLab’s creation and release of Re-Mission and Re-Mission 2, online and mobile games that promote successful, long-term treatment outcomes for adolescents and young adults with cancer. The Foundation also helped increase awareness of Re-Mission 2 and commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the original Re-Mission game.
VisionQuest 20/20’s mission is to protect children and families from the devastating academic, psychological and economic consequences of undetected vision disorders and preventable blindness. ESA Foundation funding enabled the nonprofit to use the entertaining and medically validated EyeSpy 20/20 video game technology to provide 25,000 vision screenings at schools in Hawaii and Arizona. The project also kicked off an implementation plan to achieve statewide use of EyeSpy 20/20 in Hawaii within five years.