Gamers rejoice across the land! Registration to participate in Gamers for Giving 2017 has opened!
All tickets are sold through our friends at the Intel LANFest series, and can be purchased here.
Gamers for Giving 2017 will be taking place on April 1st and 2nd at the EMU Convocation Center. This year, we’re chasing down a $200,000 fundraising goal to provide recreation and therapy to hospitalized children across the country. Specifically, a large portion of the funds raised will go towards constructing GO Karts – portable video game kiosks which are used to ensure patients have access to bedside activities during long-term care. Last year, we raised enough money to improve our manufacturing process, and over the coming weeks, more GO Karts will be delivered than we’ve constructed in the entire program’s existence!
Gamers for Giving funding will also help us expand the presence of our new initiative, Player 2, which empowers gamers to support families and staff undergoing treatment within hospitals.
Eager to help us reach the goal? Donations can be made on the front page of the Gamers for Giving website.
Here’s a full breakdown of the passes available to purchase:
- BYOC LAN Seat: $30 Online | $40 at the Door
Purchase this ticket if you would like to participate in the BYOC LAN. This ticket also grants you entry into all of our headline PC tournaments. As an attendee, you’ll bring your PC / console and have a dedicated space to play video games with fellow attendees for the entire weekend! Internet / 2 power outlets are provided with each seat. We’ll also be supporting a variety of casual PC game servers for leisure-play. Check out the LAN Party section of the website to see a list of things you’ll want to bring.
- VIP LAN Seat & Sky Loft: $125 Online | $200 at the Door
Purchase this ticket if you would like to participate in the BYOC LAN as a VIP. This ticket includes a number of extra benefits, including…
- Access to the Gamers Outreach Sky Loft: The Sky Loft is a hospitality lounge with privileged views of the arena floor, set aside as an area for guests, partners, and streamers. Premium food items and beverages will be served in a relaxing atmosphere, overlooking the entirety of the Gamers for Giving venue.
- Extra Table Space: VIPs receive an extra foot of table space.
- Early Access to the Venue: VIPs will be able to set up their rigs before the doors of Gamers for Giving open.
- Gamers for Giving T-shirt: VIPs receive a Gamers for Giving t-shirt as part of their purchase!
- Skip the Check-in Line: VIPs will be able to bypass the check-in line the morning of Gamers for Giving.
- Halo Team Pass: $160 Online | $200 at the Door
Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2017 Halo 5 tournament on Xbox One. This team pass grants a total of 4 players + 1 coach with access to the event. Only 1 member from your team needs to purchase this pass for your group. Team information will be collected when you check-in at the event.
- Call of Duty Team Pass (MWR / IW): $160 Online | $200 at the Door
Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2017 Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered AND Infinite Warfare tournaments. Tournaments will be hosted on the PlayStation 4 console. This team pass grants a total of 4 players + 1 coach with access to the event. Only 1 member from your team needs to purchase this pass for your group. Team information will be collected when you check-in at the event.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee Player Pass: $20 Online | $30 at the Door
Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2017 Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament on GameCube. This pass grants 1 player with access to the event.
As usual, press and spectators will be able to access Gamers for Giving for free! If you are a parent accommodating a minor, a member of the press, or you’re someone who just wants to come and check out the event, you’ll only need to visit the spectator check-in desk when you arrive.
Be sure to help spread Gamers for Giving hype by tweeting us with the hashtag #GFG2017! We hope to see you on April 1st & 2nd at the EMU Convocation Center!
The 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 is the most definitive gathering of today’s leading young change-makers and innovators in the U.S. Now in its sixth year, the 30 Under 30 offers an annual opportunity to embrace the optimism, inventiveness and boldness of youth. Forbes selects 30 game changers who are under 30 years of age in 20 industries — 600 in total — who are challenging the conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation of entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and more. 30 Under 30 awardees are a passionate and formidable bunch, and for good reason. Their goal is nothing short of breaking the status quo and transforming the world. You can read more about the award itself here.
On social media, Wigal had this to say:
“Grateful to be joining the Forbes 30 Under 30 class of 2017! This is an award to be shared among everyone on the Gamers Outreach team. I’m so proud of our volunteers who make everything we do a reality. I’m thankful for our board, and the people who’ve stepped in as mentors to help guide our efforts over the years. I hope this spreads awareness of our team’s work, and leads to making an even bigger difference for hospitalized kids and their families in 2017!”
As a team, we’re so proud to share this honor, and we’re thankful to Forbes for recognizing the work of our volunteers and donors who continue to help us make an impact in the lives of hospitalized children. To echo Zach’s words, we hope this serves as a platform for continued growth and impact in 2017!
Our deepest thanks to everyone who has been involved with the cause and supports our mission. Let’s help others level up!
As 2016 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank you, our community, for all the support you’ve shown Gamers Outreach, and the service you’ve provided to help others level up.
When I consider what this organization has become since our founding, I feel grateful. Grateful for the people who’ve volunteered long hours to help make our programs a reality. Grateful for all the gamers who’ve attended our events over the years. And most importantly, grateful we’re collectively able to serve kids and families experiencing hospitalization.
It’s truly inspiring to see the difference games make for children in hospitals. Certainly, on a surface level, games provide a source of entertainment in an environment where kids may otherwise not have access to many activities. However, the impact of gaming goes far beyond a simple sense of fun. We’ve seen nurses, child life specialists, and doctors, use video games as a way to aid the healthcare process. Whether it be for distraction purposes, rehabilitation, or providing children with an outlet for socialization, games have tremendous potential to be used as tools by those in healthcare fields to improve a child’s quality of life and enhance recovery.
Thinking about the future of Gamers Outreach, and how our identity will continue to evolve, two core concepts come to mind:
Firstly, we see ourselves as providers of hardware and software for the hospital environment. We construct physical tools that enable children to have access to video games. Currently, we express this (mostly) through Project GO Kart, our initiative which places portable video game kiosks within pediatric hospitals. Started as a one-off project in 2009, this single program now exists within 19 hospitals across the United States, including a veterans hospital.
From our discussions with hospital staff, we’re told between 6 – 8 children per day benefit from each GO Kart, which collectively means the program is supporting an estimated 105,120 children per year. Literally every day, kids and parents continue to benefit from the contributions of our donors, and we’re hearing about it.
The impact of a single GO Kart is measured across many years – and we still don’t know what that end lifespan is quite yet. Our first unit still exists within C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and is regularly used by staff.
At the start of 2015, we believed Project GO Kart was supporting approximately 26,000 patients. Since then, the impact of the program has quadrupled. We expect similar growth as we roll out the new generation of GO Karts in early 2017.
The second concept that comes to mind is this: we see Gamers Outreach as a community force. This organization, to us, represents an outlet for the gaming community to channel its passion towards a productive, positive force for charitable good. Whether it’s been through streaming marathons, events like Gamers for Giving, or volunteer opportunities within the hospital, our shared love for gaming has helped us mobilize to serve people in need.
Taking this to a deeper level, in 2015, we announced the Player 2 initiative, a program that invites gamers to apply their knowledge within hospitals to serve patients and staff. We’ve since interviewed multiple volunteers who’ve helped pilot the program, including Ryan Henyard, Jon Shim, and Dave Anderson. We know Player 2 has been a rewarding experience for both volunteers, and the patients and staff they’re able to support. However, unlike Project GO Kart, we’ve also noticed Player 2 requires a bit more active-management. It takes time recruiting and managing the volunteer experience prior to each new cycle, and hospitals need to bear some responsibility in guiding volunteers, ensuring they’re utilized for the purpose intended. Player 2 also requires a significant commitment from volunteers (6 months+), as hospitals must often invest to train each new person who steps forward to get involved. In saying this, we hope to see Player 2 exist in at least 3 hospitals by the end of 2017 as we continue to explore how the program could exist more widely, and adapt to the unique context of each hospital.
Speaking of volunteer opportunities, this year, we also announced the dawn of what we’re calling the “Gamers Outreach Race Crew.” Throughout 2017, we’ll be seeking volunteers to assist with GO Kart deliveries. This will be a limited time commitment ( 1 – 4 hours on a particular day) that will provide gamers an opportunity to support their local hospitals, and help oversee GO Karts delivered across the nation. If that sounds like something of interest, consider getting involved here.
None of this growth or increased impact would be possible without the support of financial contributions from the gaming community. Year over year, Gamers Outreach has continued to be primarily funded by community driven events, and community-backed donations. We’ve taken careful steps to ensure donor contributions are used for their intended purpose. In 2015, 83% of Gamers Outreach expenses were program related (independently verified by Warmels & Comstock). While we’re not quite large enough to be rated by the likes of Charity Navigator or The BBB, it’s generally recognized that charities are considered efficient if at least 65% of expenses are program related. This is something we’re very proud of, and we’re thankful to the gaming community and our donors for continuing to invest trust in our efforts as we continue to work towards improving the impact our programs have. For those curious, our full 2015 Form 990 is available here.
And of course, how could any summary not include a mention of Gamers for Giving? For those not familiar, each year, Gamers Outreach hosts a competitive gaming event and LAN party called Gamers for Giving. It’s an event that brings together all parts of the gaming community for a weekend of doing good, and playing games. Since its inception in 2008, it’s become one of the largest independent LAN parties in North America. This past March, we moved the event into a larger venue, and successfully raised $172,000+ in support of Gamers Outreach programs. In 2017, we’ll once again be returning to the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center on April 1st and 2nd, with our sights set on a $200,000 fundraising goal. This will certainly be the largest fundraiser we’ve ever conducted, and we can’t wait to chase down the goal with all our attendees and supporters online. If you’re near Michigan or feel like making the trip, I invite you to join us! Registration will open on January 13th, and information for the event will be posted on GamersforGiving.org.
From everyone at Gamers Outreach, our team would like to thank you for your support in 2016! We’re so grateful to be doing this work, and we hope you’ll get involved with the cause throughout 2017.
Have a safe and healthy new year! We’ll see you on the other side!
Founder, Gamers Outreach
Ready your razors, fellow gamers – Optic Gaming’s Michael “Flamesword” Chaves will be hosting a special 24 hour broadcast on December 28th in support of Gamers Outreach!
For what seems like an eternity, Flamesword has been maintaining an enviable mane of facial hair. Famously known by its moniker, the #OpticBeard has become a defining characteristic of Flamesword’s identity.
That all changes on December 28th, as Flamesword powers up his Twitch stream in an effort to raise more than $10,000 for Gamers Outreach! At the end of his broadcast, Flamesword will be SHAVING the Optic Beard!
The stream broadcast begins at 12 PM Eastern, and will be hosted right on Flamesword’s Twitch.tv channel.
We’ll be alongside Flamesword during the broadcast, conducting a number of special giveaways for donors and viewers. Some of our giveaway items include products from our friends at Scuf Gaming, who are also matching the first $3,000 in donations!
In addition to the broadcast, Flamesword will be taking over the Skype Instagram account alongside our founder, Zach Wigal. Be sure to follow along for behind-the-scenes content and updates on Flamesword’s progress!
Donations to Flamesword’s 2016 Optic Beard charity campaign can be made here.
Huge thanks to Scuf Gaming for supporting Flamesword’s efforts, and to Skype for helping to spread the love.
We’ll see you all on December 28th!
Fellow gamers! As many of you are probably aware, we’re gearing up to deliver our new generation of GO Karts to hospitals across the country.
2017 is going to be a busy year for Gamers Outreach. We’re expecting to deploy 3x as many GO Karts as we’ve built in the entire program’s existence. That means we’ll be supporting way more patients and families going through hospitalization.
To accomplish this, we need your help!
We’re looking for volunteers throughout the U.S. who can assist with regional GO Kart deliveries! If you’ve ever wanted to get involved with Gamers Outreach programs, this is a perfect chance to support work that could be taking place right in your hometown hospital.
Volunteers will be part of our newly formed outreach team, the “GO Kart Race Crew”. As a Race Crew member, you’ll be volunteering to ensure GO Karts are fully operational once they’ve been delivered to hospitals.
Here’s an overview of how that works:
- A GO Kart is manufactured and shipped from our warehouse to its new home at a hospital.
- The GO Kart will mostly be assembled when it arrives to the hospital. However, a monitor, gaming console, and games will need to be added to the unit.
- A Race Crew member (that’s you!) will arrive to the hospital with a group of other volunteers on a specified date. Together, the Race Crew volunteers will assemble the GO Kart, and ensure it’s ready for use within the hospital. This process will take approximately 1 – 3 hours.
- Once the GO Kart is ready for action, volunteers will take a photo of / with the GO Kart. The photo will be uploaded to the Gamers Outreach impact map for community reference. A Gamers Outreach staff member will communicate with the Race Crew volunteers to ensure the GO Kart has been properly assembled.
That’s the gist of it! Race Crew volunteers will be responsible for overseeing GO Kart deliveries, and assisting with upkeep as time goes by. Volunteer opportunities will be first-come, first-serve, and will largely be based on regional availability of volunteers.
If this is an opportunity that interests you, we invite you to fill out our volunteer application on the Gamers Outreach website! Filling out an application is by no means a firm commitment. It just lets us know that you’re interested so we can reach out with additional information.
You can submit a volunteer application by visiting this link.
Hope to see you in the pits throughout 2017!
Heads up, friends! Gamers for Giving 2017 tickets will go on sale Friday, January 13th!
Over these few weeks, we’ll be updating the Gamers for Giving website with all kinds of goodness related to next year’s event. Be on the lookout over the coming days as we upload our list of headline tournaments, travel information, ticket availability, and share various ways you can support the big fundraising goal!
As we get closer and closer to April, we’ll start rolling out our broadcast schedule, as well as any special activities taking place on the big weekend.
2017 is going to be an incredible year for Gamers Outreach, our programs, and those we support. We can’t wait to celebrate with you at Gamers for Giving!
Hope to see you on April 1st & 2nd at the EMU Convocation Center!
Earlier this year, we announced our quest to construct a 2.0 version of our portable gaming kiosks, GO Karts (Gamers Outreach Karts)! Since our original announcement, the release of our first digital renderings, AND our prototype unveiling, we’ve been working directly with a U.S. based manufacturing company to create a new GO Kart that is entirely and truly designed for our purpose. When the process is complete, we’ll be in a position to build way more GO Karts, way more efficiently – which means way more hospitalized kids will have access to recreation!
In the short-run, revising our manufacturing process means we’ve paused GO Kart deliveries until we’re ready to roll out the new units. For the time being, all funds raised in support of Project GO Kart are going towards our first batch of units as we move closer to construction. The wait however, will certainly be worthwhile. In this first batch alone, we’ll be able to build nearly as many GO Karts as we’ve ever built in the program’s entirety. In the next few years, we hope to construct many, many more GO Karts for hospitalized children. The time we’re now taking to improve our process will greatly contribute towards scaling the program.
That said, it’s with great excitement we bring you this fourth (and final) build update.
We’re proud to announce production on GO Kart 2.0 has officially begun! As of this blog post, we are in the process of manufacturing the first batch of new GO Karts!
Since building our prototype unit this past August, we were able to make a number of improvements which have been implemented into the final build. If you attended TwitchCon and stopped by our booth, you likely had the chance to see the prototype! We truly appreciated everyone’s encouragement and kind words. Receiving feedback from the community on the prototype was invaluable.
Some of the changes we’ve since implemented include:
- Additional ventilation for gaming console
- Finalized power cabling
- New, smaller actuator switch (for the GO Kart lift mechanism)
- Rubber stoppers along GO Kart legs
- Smaller footprint and mid-section
- Gesticulating monitor arm
As of now, our new expected date of completion for these units is between late December 2016 – early January 2017. The following hospitals and streamers will be among the first to receive/deliver our new GO Karts…
- Staten Island University Hospital
- Seattle Children’s Hospital
- Rady Children’s Hospital
- Lurie Children’s Hospital
- Des Moines Children’s Hospital
- Mr Monopoli (Streamer – Hospital TBD)
- Margaret Krohn (Streamer – Hospital TBD)
- Drift0r (Streamer – Hospital TBD)
- Shady Penguin (Streamer – Hospital TBD)
- Hiko (Streamer – Hospital TBD)
- ImCoty (Streamer – Hospital TBD)
- Lindsay Elyse (Streamer – Phoenix Children’s Hospital)
- Lanai Gara (Streamer – St. Jude)
- TheChive (Streamers – Dell Children’s)
With the delivery of this new batch, in one swoop, we’ll be nearly doubling the number of GO Karts in existence, effectively impacting twice as many patients per year in hospitals throughout the country. This is truly remarkable. We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to provide relief to patients and their families. We’re also thankful to have received such support from the gaming community along the way.
Be on the lookout in the coming weeks as our first batch of new GO Karts begin rolling out! If you’re a streamer or hospital on the list above – be sure to check your inbox! We’ll be reaching out in the next few weeks to confirm delivery dates and shipping information.
Big thanks to everyone who’s been involved! We can’t wait to roll these out.
Interested in building a GO Kart of your own? Check out the Gamers Outreach fundraising platform to get started!
Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have met a number of generous people in gaming. One such group at the top of our list is the crew from Infiniscene. If you’re not already familiar, the people at Infiniscene are a collection of industry veterans who’ve been making content creation easier and more accessible than ever before. Their broadcast studio is an intuitive platform that empowers gamers to quickly stream their own gameplay through websites like YouTube and Twitch.
In addition to supporting our fundraising efforts at our last Gamers for Giving event, Infiniscene recently offered to match up to $15,000 in donations received by Aaron Greenberg’s GO Kart campaign for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Their enthusiasm for our cause has been inspiring, and words can’t adequately express how thankful we are to have their support!
As part of our gratitude, we’re acknowledging Infiniscene on the “Partners” page of the Gamers Outreach website, which is reserved for corporate partners dedicated to helping us make a difference in the lives of hospitalized children.
We recently sat down with Infiniscene’s Senior Marketing Manager, Zach Mazzotta, to learn more about the company’s work, and their involvement with Gamers Outreach:
Who are you and what’s your history within the gaming industry?
We’re a small but growing team with a strong background in the gaming industry as some of our members have worked on such teams and brands like SteelSeries, Machinima, Open Broadcasting Software, Epic Games, Major League Gaming, ESL, GotFrag, WCG, and Beyond Gaming.
How did Infiniscene come to be?
Our founders couldn’t believe the difficulty and immense technical obstacles streamers had to overcome just to share what they love. They set out to not only make it easier to get started, but build something far more powerful than what’s out there. We still have a long way to go, but are very proud of what we have accomplished so far.
What are you goals and aspirations for Infiniscene within the content creation community?
Our mission is to really empower anyone and everyone to tell their story and share what they love. Other broadcasting solutions are complicated and difficult to use. We created Infiniscene to lower the barrier of entry for storytellers and creators.
How did you find out about Gamers Outreach?
A few of our employees have known Zach Wigal for a while, have always been a fan of the organization and the impact it has. The idea that you could bring a little bit of joy into a child’s life as they’re going through some really tough times is something we really wanted to support.
What led you to sponsor Gamers for Giving 2016?
Individually, we were all fans of what the Gamers Outreach crew had been doing for years but weren’t really in any position to help with our past brands. Once we came together at Infiniscene, we knew we wanted to help in any way possible and that first opportunity happened to be Gamers for Giving 2016.
Has being involved with Gamers Outreach changed your outlook on the power of video games?
Having worked in the video game industry most of our lives, we were already big believers in the impact and power of video games. Gamers Outreach is such a wonderful example of one of the many ways games can have a tremendous and positive impact on people’s lives.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us!
If you’re curious to learn more about Infiniscene, be sure to check out their website, and give them a follow on Twitter! Massive amounts of thanks go out to their team! We’re so grateful to consider them as part of the Gamers Outreach family.
Wow! What an incredibly fantastic few days we’ve had! For those who missed out: on November 12th, the gaming community came together in support of Aaron Greenberg’s quest to build GO Karts for patients being treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Aaron’s enthusiasm has been inspiring – both for our staff, and our partners. So much so, that our friends at Infiniscene decided to match every dollar raised by Aaron’s campaign. With their contribution included, Aaron’s campaign has raised a whopping $25,188!!
The end result means we’ll be delivering an entire fleet of GO Karts to Seattle Children’s Hospital! This is absolutely phenomenal! We’re so thankful to everyone who has been involved with this campaign – and to the staff behind Infiniscene, for doubling the impact of Aaron’s efforts.
Seattle Children’s GO Karts will be delivered as part of our first batch of new units, being constructed this winter. We can’t wait to support the patients and staff within the hospital, and look forward to sharing news of the delivery. Major thanks again to everyone who supported this effort!
For the past month, Aaron Greenberg has been diligently campaigning to construct 10 GO Karts for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Seeing the gaming community rally behind his efforts has been incredible. Having already raised more than $6,000 – Aaron is halfway towards his $12.5K goal.
Aaron’s enthusiasm has been inspiring – both for our staff, and our partners. So much so, that our friends at Infiniscene have decided to match every dollar raised by Aaron’s campaign, up to $15,000! Their match will effectively DOUBLE the impact of Aaron’s efforts, potentially raising nearly $30,000 in support of constructing GO Karts!
But here’s the deal: none of this can happen without your help! On Saturday, Nov 12th – three streamers will be hosting a special broadcast in support of Aaron’s campaign:
- CrReam: a former Gears of War pro turned full-time streamer.
- Darkness429: a seasonsed FPS vet with a love for the Battlefield series.
- Stallion83: the Guiness World Record holder for Xbox Gamerscore.
During the day, each broadcaster will be collecting donations to help grow Aaron’s fundraising goal! If you’re able, please consider making a contribution to Aaron’s campaign, or help spread the word on social media! Streamers will begin going live at 10 AM Eastern.
We can’t wait for November 12th! Be sure to tune in for a variety of game play and giveaways! We’ll see you then!
Infiniscene is a beautiful, intuitive broadcast studio powered by the cloud. Simple enough for anyone to get started in minutes. Powerful enough to take any broadcaster to the next level. With native integrations with the services you love, the ability to remotely stream with anyone, and live chat support should you need it – the future of live-streaming is here.