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Support from Badlion Client

Badlion Client, a Minecraft anti-cheat and mod launcher client, supports Gamers Outreach by donating a portion of their proceeds from in-game cosmetics in 2019 and 2020.

Video games in hospitals are currently providing patients with a form of socialization in an otherwise isolating environment given the state of the world today. With support from Badlion Client, we estimate that 21,000 play sessions will be created for hospitalized children each year.

Rewinding to 2019, Badlion Client released limited-edition Pride Month cosmetics with half of the proceeds being donated to Gamers Outreach. Items included a Pride top hat, bandana, shield, and logo cloak. $5,000 was donated to Gamers Outreach!

Badlion Client Pride Month Cosmetics

In 2020, Badlion Client donated 100% of their limited Pride Month cosmetic proceeds to Gamers Outreach. Items included were Pride cloaks, top hats, shields, wings, Pride sprays, and an added new bandana design. $19,055 was raised in support of Gamers Outreach, and players got really awesome in-game cosmetics.

2020 Badlion Client Pride Cosmetics

The support continued into October 2020 when Badlion Client joined in on our Spooktacular Streamathon fun by offering a limited-release Gamers Outreach logo cloak! 

Whether children are patients long-term or just for the day, everyone deserves access to play. 

Thank you, Badlion Client, for continuously supporting our mission and providing amazing cosmetics for one of our most requested games. We’re excited about what this new year has in store!

Gamers Outreach x Wonder Woman 1984

The holidays are around the corner, and we’re excited to share one last surprise with everyone before the new year.

We’re thrilled to announce we’ve partnered up with Xbox and Gal Gadot to bring video games to hospitalized children, along with the new movie, Wonder Woman 1984.

Here’s Gal Gadot to give you more information! Official press release below!

Wonder Woman 1984 and Xbox to Surprise Children’s Hospitals Across the Country
by Taylor Smith, GM, Xbox Brand Marketing 

This holiday season, the action-adventure film “Wonder Woman 1984” is teaming up with Xbox and Gamers Outreach to create 10 unique Gamers Outreach (GO) Karts, featuring the new Xbox Series S along with two custom Xbox Wireless Controllers inspired by the movie. Each of these GO Karts will be placed in children’s hospitals across the country starting on December 23, just in time to experience the magic of the holidays.

Children at these hospitals will be able to power their dreams as they continue the healing process, while Xbox and Gamers Outreach help bring a sense of normalcy to patients and families alike. As an extra gift of wonder, the GO Karts will include a special message from Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, along with an HBO Max subscription to watch her new movie “Wonder Woman 1984,” streaming exclusively on HBO Max starting on December 25 for a limited time and available in theaters worldwide this holiday season.

The following hospitals will be receiving these specialized GO Karts:

  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital
  • Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone
  • Children’s Minnesota
  • Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
  • Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Children’s Medical Center Dallas
  • Children’s Hospital New Orleans
  • SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital
  • Montana Children’s Medical Center
  • Children’s National Hospital

Xbox and Gamers Outreach are once again excited to bring an unforgettable experience to children at these hospitals, giving them access to interactive entertainment and the chance to socialize via video games through an amazing collaboration with “Wonder Woman 1984,” bringing joy through the power of play with Xbox this holiday season.

Learn more about Gamers Outreach and their mission to build a world where play is accessible in hospitals by visiting www.GamersOutreach.org.

 

SAVE THE DATE! GAMERS FOR GIVING 2021

Last year, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual Gamers for Giving LAN and shift to an online-only event. As sad as it was, we knew it was the right thing to do.

Thankfully, the gaming community showed up to support. We were blown away by the enthusiasm from streamers, sponsors, viewers, and more!

Fast forward to present day: COVID reports are at new highs, and we’ve received more requests for games in hospitals than ever.

We’re asking you to save the date for a virtual event once more.

Gamers for  Giving 2021 will take place on March 20th and 21st, 2021. During next year’s fundraiser, streamers and brands will join us from the comforts of their own battle stations in support of Gamers Outreach programs.

We’ll be releasing more information about #GFG2021 in the coming months, including our fundraising goal, schedule, where to watch, along with who will be joining us this year.

Planning on joining us? Don’t be shy! You can always stay up to date with Gamers for Giving 2021 by following our blog or following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And don’t hesitate to keep the conversation going with us by using the hashtag #GFG2021.

2020 wasn’t the year any of us expected. But thanks to your support, we raised over $675K to provide gaming experiences to as many as 422,000 children each year.

Even though we can’t gather together in person in 2021, we’re just as excited to make memories and break goals virtually!

We’re looking forward to gaming with you all online, March 20th & 21st. Hope to see you in the streams!

We smell what The Rock is cooking…

Our friends at Microsoft are celebrating the launch of a new generation of consoles – the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

New consoles mean new ways to empower kids through play. We’re excited to share we’ve partnered with The Rock and Xbox to deliver the very first custom consoles to children’s hospitals across the country!

We’d say more, but it’s probably better for Dwayne to fill you in. Official press release below!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Xbox Surprise Children’s Hospitals Across the Country with Custom Xbox Series X Consoles
by Cindy Walker, Senior Director of Xbox Platform Marketing

Two decades after our first partnership unveiling the original Xbox, global entertainment icon and entrepreneurial force, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Xbox are teaming up to once again to celebrate the launch of the next generation of Xbox. This time, we are partnering with Gamers Outreach to give twenty children’s hospitals across the nation the very first batch of custom Xbox Series X consoles and specialized Gamers Outreach Karts, also known as GO Karts, which are portable kiosks built to easily provide recreation to children who are unable to leave their rooms in hospitals.

An unforgettable surprise for kids across the country, the custom Xbox Series X features Johnson’s iconic Brahma Bull logo representing strength, resilience, heart and power, and includes a special engraved message for kids alongside his signature summoning hope and goodwill:

“Keep smiling and have fun. Love, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson”

Custom Xbox Series X consoles are accompanied by customized Xbox Wireless Controllers with a matching gold Brahma Bull and will be featured on the portable GO Karts outfitting the hospitals. The GO Karts were built specifically for hospitals to empower and bring joy to families through play, giving kids access to interactive entertainment and the chance to socialize via video games.

Johnson announced the partnership and gave fans an initial look at the very first custom Xbox Series X console on social media on Monday, November 9. Over the next year, more than 50,000 kids will be able to play with the GO Karts and custom Xbox Series X consoles and Xbox Wireless Controllers at the following hospitals: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children’s Hospital Orange County, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Children’s Wisconsin, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Franciscan Hospital for Children, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Methodist Children’s Hospital, Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s, MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern CA, Texas Children’s Hospital, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and UNM Children’s Hospital.

We are thrilled to partner with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to bring next generation console gaming to children’s hospitals across the country and appreciate his consistent commitment to bringing joy to kids’ lives through the power of play with Xbox.

To find out more about Gamers Outreach and their mission to build a world where play is accessible in hospitals, please visit www.GamersOutreach.org.

A Spooktacular Conclusion!

Wow, where to begin? 

Here at Gamers Outreach, we had an amazing October. It was filled with candy, spooky games, and our first-ever Spooktacular Streamathon – a month-long fundraising event. Over the course of the month, over 50 communities, brands, and organizations fundraised in support of Project GO Kart. Each had one goal in mind: provide play to hospitalized children. 

Allow us to gleefully express… we had a BLAST!

From games like Phasmaphobia and Amnesia to Rocket League and Warzone, our time was spent hanging out with an array of communities, each with their own personality and their own stories. 

To say we were surprised by the results would be an understatement. Every week, we spent time watching streamers repeatedly break their goals, proving our intended fundraising target was far too modest compared to the might of the gaming community. The support we received during October was overwhelming, energizing, and way beyond our expectations. 

11 days into this event, we had already reached our initial goal of $50,000. By the end of the month, the total reached was $337,304. It took a few days to find words for this blog post – our team was speechless.

No one is certain when the COVID era will end and with that, children in hospitals will continue to face isolation every day. Our hope is that, in a time of uncertainty, we can sprinkle a little bit of normalcy back into a child’s life whether it be through Minecraft, Rocket League, or other games. We estimate these funds can help support as many as 182,000 play sessions for kids each year.

We’re sending the first-ever Spooktacular Streamathon MVP trophy over to Anthony Kongphan who raised $42,826.69 and was about 15 minutes behind on his donation alerts for the majority of his stream due to the flood of support from his community. Huge W, Anthony!

We also want to shout out the organizations and brands like ROKKR, Version1, Houston Outlaws, Karnage Clan, Team Sidequest, Turtle Beach, ASUS, G2, Gen.G, and more, who carved time out of their month for us. 

Lastly, we want to say thank you to every supporter and streamer. Whether you donated, watched a stream, or spread the word, the love was truly felt. We’re so thankful to have such big-hearted supporters standing by our side. 

As for the confetti cannons? They’re still alive thanks to Jess.

Until next time, stay spooky, and stay having fun.

We’re Hiring – Come Join Our Team!

Each day, Gamers Outreach employees and volunteers help make play possible inside hospitals. Our impact is expanding, and we need more crew members eager to change the world. We’re hiring!

Gamers Outreach is a 501(c)(3) organization that empowers thousands of hospitalized children through digital play. As witnesses ourselves, it’s clear entertainment helps create a sense of joy and relief for families undergoing treatment. We’re building a world where recreation is easily prioritized alongside research and care – and we’re doing it through video games!

We’re opening three positions to support a range of needs on our team. They are…

  • Program Logistics Coordinator
    In this role, you’ll support critical tasks associated with daily program operations. Primary responsibilities will include overseeing our GO Kart fulfillment process – managing communication flow between hospitals, donors, and our team internally. You’ll take responsibility for GO Kart deliveries, coordinating logistics with all involved parties to ensure GO Karts arrive safely to hospitals. A portion of this role will also be dedicated to assisting with inventory oversight at our warehouse outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. While the majority of Gamers Outreach employment opportunities are remote, our preference for this role is to hire an individual based in Michigan, or willing to relocate.
  • Account Manager – Development
    In this role, you’ll join our Development team to generate resources that expand and maintain our program activity in hospitals. You’ll become a point person for managing our constituent ecosystem. You’ll have the opportunity to work with an array of brands, organizations, and hospitals to help bring meaningful campaigns to fruition. This role is fully remote (U.S. based).
  • Administrative Assistant
    In this role, you’ll work directly with our Executive Director to help with a variety of administrative tasks that keep Gamers Outreach operating like a finely tuned machine! You’ll become the central point of record keeping for the organization, ensuring resources are flowing as intended. Assisting with bookkeeping and data entry are a big portion of this role, so basic accounting knowledge is a must-have. This role is fully remote (U.S. based), but we have a slight preference for an individual based in either Southern California or Ann Arbor, Michigan.

You can read the job descriptions in their entirety and submit an application on our HireHive page, located here.

Working at Gamers Outreach comes with a variety of benefits! Full-time employees receive the following:

  • Retirement
    • 401k / Roth IRA and employer match.
  • Healthcare
    • Top notch healthcare coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield (PPO).
    • Dental & Vision included.
    • Direct family included (spouse / children).
  • Flexible Time Off
    • Unlimited vacation policy. Just make sure your work is done!
    • Paid holidays.
  • Work-from-home.
  • Monthly Staff Gaming Session
    • Time allotment for gaming with co-workers each month.
  • Sabbatical
    • After 4 years employees are encouraged to take a 4 – 6 week paid sabbatical to pursue their personal goals or learn new skills.
  • Pet / Child Friendly
    • Boarding / Babysitter expense account when traveling for Gamers Outreach.

Best of luck to those applying, and if you know anyone who may be interested, share the word!

Spooktacular Streamathon

*opens door*
*bats emerge*

Goooooood evening, Gamers Outreach supporters… muahahaha!

Ok, that was a little awkward. Sorry.

October is nearly here, and our team is embracing the Halloween spirit! We’re delighted to share news of a Halloween event we’re launching – the Spooktacular Streamathon!

Throughout the 31 days of October, a variety of streamers, organizations, and brands will host broadcasts in support of bringing joy to kids in hospitals. This is one of our first month-long events, and we’re thrilled to celebrate the spooky season with those streaming, their communities, and you!

Isolation in hospitals has been a challenge since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. With more patients being confined to their rooms, requests for games are the highest we’ve seen since our founding.

Funds raised during this event will support Project GO Kart – our program that provides recreation to hospitalized children via mobile gaming kiosks. With this event, we’re hoping to raise at least $50,000, which can help us build a fleet of GO Karts, and enable as many as  42,000 play sessions for kids in hospitals each year.

An incredible roster of talent and brands are involved, and we’d like to extend our deepest gratitude. We’re so excited for October to kick off, and hope you’ll consider watching or supporting their campaigns!

Looking to help? Here are some of the ways you can support this year’s spoooooky goal…

  • Donate: Donations can be made in any amount on the Spooktacular Streamathon Tiltify fundraising page, located here!
  • Fundraise: Are you a streamer interested in rallying your community? Start a Spooktacular broadcast of your own!
  • Watch: Each day will feature a new channel, so be sure to keep up with us on Twitter as we highlight broadcasters going live!
  • Spread the word: Help spread the word on social media when broadcasters go live! Retweets, comments, and shares are all appreciated and make a difference!

Every bit of support helps bring us closer to providing kids with access to play. We hope you’ll get your costume ready and join us this October!

Now… what do we do about all these bats?

Support from Aim Lab

Spofie's Hospital Visit

When we realized back in March that COVID wasn’t going to allow us to host our annual LAN party, Gamers for Giving, we were devastated. Breaking the news to our supporters and sponsors was one of our least favorite things we’ve ever done. However, even as we shifted to an online event in an ever-changing environment, the results were overwhelmingly positive.

In December 2019, Aim Lab launched a new in-game holiday pack. For $9.99, players could buy in-game skins and sweaters with 100% of the profits directly supporting Gamers Outreach. If you enjoy using Aim Lab, you can still purchase this holiday pack.

The support didn’t stop there. Over the past few months, we’ve received more requests from hospitals seeking GO Karts than ever before. Today, we’re writing to acknowledge Aim Lab, who, in the midst of COVID, stuck with us and continued to sponsor Gamers for Giving 2020. Thanks to Aim Lab and their sponsorship, we are now able to provide an additional 14,500 play sessions per year. Alongside this, we are excited to deliver a sponsored GO Kart to Mount Sinai in Aim Lab’s name.

We want to send a huge thank you to the team at Aim Lab for the continued support via Aim Lab and for sticking with us through uncertain times. As isolation increases in hospitals, kids need gaming now more than ever and we’re so thankful for our partners at Aim Lab for helping us to provide that. We’re excited to keep the momentum going! 

Advisory Board Expanded: Welcome Arda!

Arda Ocal throwing Corn Flakes away.

We’ve got some good news to share with you! Today, we’re thrilled to welcome Arda Ocal to the Gamers Outreach Advisory Board!

This (growing) advisory board was created to support directors and staff within Gamers Outreach. Each member helps lead development efforts that expand the impact of Gamers Outreach programs. Their involvement provides our team with valuable third-party perspective on internal discussions, and their passion for our cause helps rally community action.

As a reminder, our intent is to cultivate this advisory board to be comprised of professionals from a wide range of disciplines (both within and outside the gaming industry). A few key qualities guide our consideration of candidates. Board members must be/have…

  • Senior-level professionals with experience working in gaming, medical, or corporate environments.
  • Record of securing grants, sponsorship, or external resources for programs, corporate initiatives, or services.
  • Demonstrated excellence in forming relationships that advanced a particular program, company, or cause.
  • Exemplary leadership skills. Board members must be able to foster a team environment and work collaboratively when necessary.
  • Board members are effective communicators, able to identify areas for improvement and help advance the organization’s mission.

Arda joins us as a lifelong gamer and a 20 year veteran of the media industry. With a natural talent in broadcasting, Arda’s experience spans from reporting the weather and hosting sports like NHL and WWE to eventually appearing on the hosting desk of the League of Legends World Championship in 2016 for ESPN Esports. Lucky for us, Arda fell in love with esports and never left the gaming industry.

On joining Gamers Outreach, Arda had this to say… 

“When I first heard about it, I thought it was such a terrific concept. I was still relatively new to the esports scene in 2018, at least in terms of knowing a lot of people in the industry, so I cold emailed Gamers Outreach about a month before Gamers for Giving. I introduced myself and said I’d like to attend the event and help out however I can. To his credit, Zach (Gamers Outreach founder) responded and said there’s no budget to pay for your expenses because it was all accounted for, but I said I didn’t care, I want to be there. So I booked my own flight to Detroit and paid for my own expenses and didn’t think twice about it. I needed to help out and learn everything I could about this charity. I saw the videos and pictures and read the stories online and knew I had to get involved. We kept in touch after that, I helped with other fundraisers and connections, and eventually, I bought two karts — one is in Brooklyn, an area that desperately needed a kart, and I hear it gets great usage which makes me very happy. One will go where I was born in Toronto. Both are under my daughter Ayla’s name, so it’s her first act of kindness in this world. One day we will go to Brooklyn when she’s old enough to process it to see her kart and the positive vibes it brings, and I honestly cannot wait for that. From there, I kept telling Zach that I’ve love to help on a larger scale — it’s one thing to talk the talk, it’s another to walk the walk, so I wanted to let my actions speak. That’s when I first mentioned the Advisory Board and I’m really glad it happened. I fully believe in the power of kindness and good vibes and the GO Karts do that in spades.”

We’re beyond excited to have Arda on the Advisory Board, and look forward to working with him to expand the impact of our programs. Please join us in welcoming him to the crew!

Program Happenings in the era of COVID

Video games in hospital.

It’s currently mid-May 2020, and like many organizations, we’ve been navigating the news around COVID on a weekly basis.

Gamers Outreach is focused on making video games available and easy to manage in hospitals. Our goal is to help build a world where play is seamlessly prioritized alongside research and treatment.

Given our support of healthcare workers and presence in pediatric facilities, we’d like to provide an update on what’s happening in the world of Gamers Outreach programs. Thankfully, many of the pediatric hospitals we’ve interacted with these last couple months aren’t seeing children hospitalized due to COVID. However, physical distancing measures are in place everywhere – and most hospitals we’ve spoken with are isolating all patients to their rooms. This also means visitors and volunteers are strictly limited, if allowed at all.

On that note, let’s talk first about Player 2.

Gamers Outreach volunteers visit Omaha Nebraska hospital with Jake Diekman

For those not familiar: Player 2 is a program where gamers become hospital volunteers. While volunteering, gamers help solve minor tech support problems, distribute equipment, and play games with patients. Opportunities to volunteer through this initiative are limited by region. Eligibility is mostly determined by a hospital’s capacity to onboard and manage new volunteers.

Currently, Player 2 volunteers are being encouraged to assist hospital staff through remote communication (video / phone calls, email, etc). Given the general concern around COVID transmission, we don’t anticipate volunteers physically re-entering the hospital environment through 2020. We’ll continue to seek guidance from hospital staff on best protocol for volunteers and general visitors. Everyone’s safety and well-being is our #1 priority.

If you are a hospital interested in receiving remote support for your tech devices, you can sign up to become a Player 2 facility on our website here. If you’re a gamer interested in providing support to hospitals, you can also apply to volunteer on the same web page here.

Let’s shift gears and talk about Project GO Kart.

Joe Jones of the Denver Broncos visits Children's Colorado

GO Karts have been in higher demand than ever. In the last few weeks, we’ve received more requests from hospitals seeking devices than any other period in our history. Our ability to support these facilities is largely driven by donors. In instances where we’re not able to immediately accommodate requests, hospitals are added to our waiting list. As donors step forward or fundraisers are completed, these hospitals are prioritized.

Our GO Karts are built and assembled in Texas. The facility where we construct GO Karts has been deemed essential, and there are a number of measures in place to ensure a healthy environment for our team members there.

We’re currently working on final assembly for our latest batch of units, which includes GO Karts funded by Gamers for Giving streamers and an array of other donors. Shipments from this batch will start being released in early June, and we’ll have inventory on-hand to support subsequent donors / requests in the months following. We’re also maintaining inventory to accommodate our normal volume of requests from donors and hospitals in the interim.

Gamers Outreach portable video game kiosks for hospitals

If you’re a hospital interested in receiving a donated unit, or if you’d like to purchase a GO Kart, you can do so from our Project GO Kart web page, located here. If you’re an individual who would like to gift a unit to a hospital, you can do so through the Donate form located here. If you’d like to rally your community to fundraise for a hospital in your area, you can start an online campaign here.

The commitment to build a GO Kart is $3,500 per unit. This includes the kiosk itself, the gaming console, monitor, controllers, and an assortment of games digitally installed. It also includes freight shipping anywhere in the country, setup assistance, and ongoing support through the years if a hospital needs help!

Of course, general donations can be made on our website at any time here. Contributions are used to help sustain existing program activity AND expand our impact. $10 can help us ship small care packages to hospitals. $30 can help buy a new controller. $60 can help buy a new game. $100 can help provide an Xbox Adaptive Controller. $300 can provide a new console. And as mentioned above, $3,500 is enough to build, deliver, and maintain a GO Kart for multiple years. In our last annual report, 80% of our expenses were program related.

A young gamer at Children's Hospital Colorado enjoys some competition on a GO Kart.

With limitation on visitors and restrictions on patient activity, the purpose of our work is more apparent than ever. Staff are looking for ways to help kids stay active, and gaming has a big role to play. We’re proud to be a part of enriching the lives of children and their families during their time in hospitals. A big thanks goes out to our community of supporters for making all this possible. You’re making a difference each day, and we’re grateful for your involvement.