As another year of activity begins to ramp up, we wanted to pause for our usual moment of annual reflection. We’re proud to share our latest yearly summary, highlighting the fantastic progress made between 2021 – 2022. Thanks to many of you, thousands of joyful moments for kids receiving care were made possible!
In this report, we’ll cover our 2021 financials (reflected in our latest Form 990), which influenced program activity and fundraising across both 2021 and 2022. Distinctions are noted where applicable.
Our core focus remains the same. At Gamers Outreach, we believe in the value of play.
Play is an integral part of our lives starting from early moments in childhood. It’s through play we socialize, learn, and make sense of the world. High-quality play makes for a high-quality life.
Play is especially important for kids as they mature.
But in hospitals, making play readily available is challenging.
Physical space is limited, staff must focus on treatment, and financial resources are often needed elsewhere.
Each year, millions of children and their families receive medical care inside hospitals. For many, the process can be scary and isolating. During hospitalization, kids lose access to friends, school, and moments that typically define childhood.
We’re on a mission to change their experience.
Gamers Outreach is a for-purpose organization restoring a sense of joy and normalcy in the lives of hospitalized children. We believe the world is better when kids can play, and gamers have the power to help.
Video games, when manageable inside hospitals, make play accessible at scale. Games are enjoyed by all age groups, and they offer a range of activities.
Our goal is to ensure all hospitalized kids have access to play – and we’ve chosen video games as our tools of choice.
Our Vision, Mission, & Core Beliefs.
One day we want to look back & ask: “remember when hospitals didn’t have video games?” That’s the future we’re committed to building.
The great news? That future is tangible. We know how to make play scalable – through technology!
The challenge: there are thousands of healthcare facilities around the world. We’re taking on a big problem. There’s a lot of work to reach full adoption.
Since our founding in 2007, we’ve worked to inspire and heal kids through play. Five tenets guide this sense of purpose:
- We are gamers.
We are video game enthusiasts on a mission to help our fellow gamers in hospitals. We are stewards of an organization that serves as a source of relief for hospital patients, and a conduit for video game enthusiasts to give back through their passion. We have dedicated ourselves to ensuring Gamers Outreach is a trusted charity for gamers and those supported by our work. We are committed to games being used for good. We are a gaming brand that enables interactive experiences in hospitals.
- We inspire and heal through play.
We believe access to recreation helps enrich a person’s quality of life. This is especially evident while a person is receiving care in a hospital setting. Our organization provides resources that help make video game content readily available and easy to manage in hospitals.
- Why do we do it?
We stand for kids, their families, and hospital staff providing care. We believe video games are a platform capable of improving the patient experience. Our programs aid the healing process by providing entertainment, relief, socialization, and a sense of normalcy to families and patients spending time inside hospitals.
- We value community.
Our organization was founded by a community of gamers determined to make a difference. Our programs are driven by community involvement. We believe the video game community is capable of doing incredible good. We hope to inspire fellow gamers to engage with their local hospitals.
- We are stewards – helping others level up!
Our staff and volunteers embody the identity, mission, and community values of Gamers Outreach programs. We are responsible for ensuring our programs add value to the lives of patients, their families, and hospital staff. Our team bridges the gap between the gaming community and the hospital environment. Every action on behalf of the organization should prioritize our community’s well-being and those we support in hospitals.
Our program philosophy is inspired by two key observations we’ve consistently recognized across healthcare facilities:
- Many hospitals are not equipped with entertainment devices or infrastructure that makes premium gaming content readily accessible to patients (e.g. consoles, controllers, monitors, games, etc.).
- When technology is present, it can be difficult for hospital staff to manage entertainment due to several factors (unfamiliarity with equipment, existing responsibilities, ease of mobility, bandwidth limitations, etc.).
The majority of our resources are deployed amongst four programs we believe help make gaming accessible in different ways:
- GO Karts are hardware solutions. Each GO Kart helps ensure hardware is available to support AAA gaming experiences in hospitals where infrastructure may not exist!
- Player 2 volunteers are knowledge helpers. They’re gamers who provide expertise to make sure technology is working as intended within hospitals.
- Save Point is a distribution solution. Through dedicated Save Points, we can equip kids with take-home items, and empower them with a sense of accomplishment after progressing through treatment.
- Portal is a software solution. In hospitals where infrastructure exists, we can enable hundreds of patient rooms to be connected simultaneously without kids needing to wait a turn to play.
As we expand into more hospitals, it’s helpful to consider a few terms we use to define our impact.
- Gaming Experiences. You’ll notice the front page of our website lists the number of “annual gaming experiences” our devices provide. This number reflects what we believe to be our capacity-for-use, given the number of GO Karts deployed across hospitals. A “gaming experience” is defined as “every time a child plays a game on our device.” There are instances the same child day-to-day may use a GO Kart. There are also scenarios where a GO Kart is deployed in a playroom and used by 20+ children per day.
- Saturation (program footprint): We’re working towards a scenario where all kids have access to play without needing to wait their turn. This means providing the right type of devices, as well as the right quantity. A “fully saturated” hospital is a facility that requires no more devices. If our “program footprint” expands, it means we’ve added more devices across hospitals.
- Breadth: There are hundreds of pediatric hospitals in the United States alone. So long as our programs are of benefit, we hope to maintain a presence in each!
2021 – 2022 was another period of record activity and fundraising.
- We Added another 80 New Healthcare Facilities. As of this blog post, Gamers Outreach maintains a presence across 390 healthcare centers!
- 409 New GO Karts Were Deployed. Our fleet of units now consists of over 1,550 GO Karts, which our team actively supports!
- Now Active in 9 Countries. Our presence is slowly growing around the globe, and we intend to expand much more in the year ahead!
- More Gaming Experiences. Collectively, we estimate Gamers Outreach enables as many as 4.5 million instances of play each year! That’s A MILLION MORE than our last report period! Wowza!
Some more fun highlights from 2021 – 2022 included:
- Xbox A Player Like Me/Therapeutic Play | We had the privilege of collaborating with long-time supporter, Xbox, on a short film to shed a light on the topic of Therapeutic Play. “A Player Like Me” showcases a friendship that two individuals forged through a gaming session, despite the 3,935 miles between them illustrating the power of play and connection. The effort was even recognized during the annual CLIO Awards, where we took home 4 trophies, including a GRAND CLIO!
- The Logan Project | In the summer of 2022, NFL superstar Christian McCaffrey launched The Logan Project through his foundation to honor the legacy of Logan Hale who wished to provide video games to kids undergoing medical treatment. We partnered to help deliver GO Karts on their behalf.
- Celebrity WOF | October of 2022 was full of surprises of us here at GO. One giant W came when Xavier Woods (aka Austin Creed) selected GO as his charity of choice on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune! His energy, humor and passion were unmatched. Not to mention he was an absolute beast at solving puzzles, racking up over $96K for the kids!
- Hermitcraft | Speaking of W’s…maybe you caught the massive Hermitcraft campaign that radiated across the internet in October! Some key members of the Hermitcraft community (they call themselves Hermits!) orchestrated an online charity event like no other, filled with minigames and other activities. In the end and in a matter of hours, they raised over $439K. We’ve since started deploying a mini fleet of GO Karts to hospitals in the U.S. and international locations.
- My Cause My Cleats | For over four years, a few of our supporters, who also happen to play football on Sundays, have kindly represented GO during the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats initiative. Players get to pick a cause that is important to them and represent that charity on their feet during a dedicated week of play in the NFL regular season. This year, Casey Kreiter and Dalton Schultz chose GO as their charity of choice!
- Pins on the Map | This past year, GO delivered on the promise to continue our expansion internationally. We’re thrilled to report that GO now has a presence in all provinces in Canada. We’re working our way through each territory as well! In addition, we touched down in New Zealand, Mexico, Belgium and Sweden.
- Advisory Board Additions | Content creators make up a big part of the GO community and we’re super appreciative of both them and their communities. We greatly value their input and perspective so we selected six creators who’ve supported the GO mission to join our Advisory Board. Perhaps you recognize a few of them?!
- Press Ganey Accelerator | Gamers Outreach was one of ten entities to be selected for participation in the KidsX Press Ganey Accelerator. Our initiative, Portal, was reviewed by healthcare professionals and hospitals. We received a ton of amazing feedback to help further development. KidsX brings together the top children’s hospitals and talented digital health companies to build, test and deploy software solutions to make pediatric care exceptionally effective, safe, efficient and convenient for children and families. We were pumped to be a part!
- VTuber Summer Slam | The new virtual streaming marathon raised over $235K in support of our programs!
- Spooktacular | Our third annual Spooktacular Streamathon raised over $856,000 with support from more than 750 broadcasters, and 15 teams! It was our biggest Spooktacular to-date, smashing past last year by nearly $80K!
Across both 2021 and 2022, we reached new fundraising milestones for the cause. With support from many of you, more than $3.76 million was contributed during our 2021 fiscal year! That’s a 21% increase since our last tax filing!
It won’t be fully noted until next year’s report, but it’s looking like our supporters crossed $4 million raised during 2022! Another record!
Fundraising growth was attributed to a bit more activity across all aspects of our revenue categories, including the addition of a new event, the VTuber Summer Slam. And as mentioned, a sizable chunk of fundraising was accomplished by the Hermitcraft community! In 2022, Gamers for Giving also broke past the $1 million threshold for the first time!
All that fundraising was put to good work. In 2021 we allocated $2.8 million towards Gamers Outreach expenditures, with 85% of those funds being directly attributed to our programs.
For those interested, our full Form 990 can be viewed here.
We believe 2023 will be a year of incredible upshift, with Gamers Outreach programs scaling across more hospitals than ever before. The first tranche of that effort will be our annual Gamers for Giving fundraiser, scheduled to take place between March 20th – March 26th. This year’s event will see the return of our annual LAN party coincide with online fundraisers from streamers around the internet. We’re once again hoping to break past the $1 million threshold. Check out the event’s website for more information! www.GamersforGiving.org
Four key metrics help define our idea of success in hospitals. Our programs exist in a diverse landscape of facilities across the country. We believe these four considerations are ubiquitous across hospitals, and they represent how we think about fulfillment:
- Equipment / Content Saturation. Each hospital environment is unique in its ability to house equipment and provide patients with access to content. A 600-bed facility has different hardware and content needs than a 20-bed facility. Our long-term goal is to assist hospitals in reaching their unique “saturation points” so that content is readily available to patients.
- Patient Engagement. We define patient engagement in terms of access to activities. What entertainment offerings existed (if any) to patients before Gamers Outreach programs, and how accessible were those activities to patients? Example: did patients need to wait X hours before playing a video game, or were games available immediately?
- Improved Patient Outcomes. In our experience, hospitals place a high degree of importance on measuring “patient outcomes.” Loosely defined, this encompasses how quickly / fully a patient recovers during treatment. We believe games are capable of contributing towards improved patient outcomes.
- Improved Patient Experience. For our purposes, we think of the patient experience as the overall sentiment a person may have during hospitalization. It can also be an indicator of how a patient “feels” day-to-day. Patients often report their “pain scores” to attending healthcare staff, which help determine sense of comfort or injury tolerance. We believe games are capable of facilitating improved patient experiences.
As we think about the year ahead, we move forward with a sense of gratitude. It’s thanks to many of you Gamers Outreach programs are possible. It’s the combined efforts of donors, volunteers, and healthcare workers that help facilitate moments of joy and normalcy for hospitalized families.
We’re excited for the year ahead, which will see the introduction of our new GO Karts, as well as a few other surprises in store! We hope you’ll join us and help others level up throughout 2023!