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Blog: General News


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.

Support from The Coalition

Over the last week, we’ve received more direct requests from hospitals seeking GO Karts than any week in Gamers Outreach history.

In many children’s hospitals, almost all patients are now restricted to their rooms due to COVID-19. With limitation of visitors and restrictions on patient activity, hospitals are in need more than ever of the consoles and equipment we provide. Staff are looking for ways to help kids stay active, and gaming has a big role to play.

Today, we’re proud to share news The Coalition has made a massive donation in support of Gamers Outreach programs – contributing 200 Xbox One X consoles to our inventory of supplies. These consoles will be equipped to outbound GO Karts in support of providing hospitalized kids with access to play.

GO Karts (Gamers Outreach Karts) are portable video game kiosks built for hospitals. Each unit is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, controllers, and assortment of games. Thanks to GO Karts, healthcare workers can easily manage and provide games to kids who have limited activity options. Currently deployed across more than 200 facilities, we estimate our collective fleet can support between 1.5 – 2 million play sessions for children annually.

In addition to the donation of consoles, The Coalition has created a custom Gears of War skin, “Johnny COG Gear,” to help raise money in support of Gamers Outreach programs. Designed by one of our longtime volunteers, Josh “Johnny Quad” Marshbanks, profits from the sale of this in-game character will enable us to sustain and expand our work in hospitals over these coming months.

If you’re a Gears of War fan, you can purchase Johnny COG Gear in-game now. Our very own Zach Wigal sat down with Guy Blaze to talk about the skin, and hear from Josh on what inspired the design.


We want to send a massive thanks to the team at The Coalition for helping to make our work possible. These 200 consoles will exist in hospitals long into the future, and could help facilitate as many as 580,000 play sessions for kids each year. Our whole crew is appreciative of this donation, especially during a period of time when gaming is keeping more kids active than ever! Thank you all for your support!

Gamers for Giving: 2020 Grand Total

Gamers for Giving 2020 is officially a wrap!

And… wow… what an unexpected, inspiring, and astonishing weekend it’s been.

As many of our supporters are aware, Gamers for Giving typically includes an annual LAN party. Each year, we bring together the gaming community to play video games and make a difference for hospitalized children.

This year, things were a bit different. Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, our team made the difficult decision to cancel our LAN. A number of volunteers work year-round to make the in-person experience of Gamers for Giving possible. While it’s difficult to see that work shelved, we know with absolute certainty it was the best decision for the safety of our attendees and the event as a whole.

Gamers for Giving is a major driver for our programs in hospitals. Kids and their families have come to depend on our ongoing support for the devices we provide. Perhaps now more than ever, society is acutely aware of the impact games have to unite us and provide recreation. This has always been true in the hospitals we work, and it’s a reminder of the connections our community helps facilitate through Gamers for Giving.

Although the LAN was canceled, the majority of our fundraising is made possible thanks to every gamer’s greatest strength – our shared sense of community online.

With the help of our sponsors, partners, and an array of enthusiastic streamers, we’re proud to share the community delivered.

In total, Gamers for Giving raised a whopping $675,425 in cash contributions.

This amount includes sponsorship contributions, major gifts from GameAbove and Love Your Melon, money raised by streamers, and donations not funneled through the Tiltify platform (e.g. Facebook fundraisers).

While it’s just shy of our $700K goal, the amount raised surpasses last year’s Gamers for Giving by more than $38K. This makes it our second largest fundraiser we’ve hosted to-date behind our 2018 event when PUBG matched contributions.

All things considered, we’re calling that a huge W, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the passion and energy of the streaming community, most all of whom exceeded their personal goals.

This year’s MVP streaming shout out goes to Terroriser and his community, who did a lot of fishing in Animal Crossing to raise nearly $40,000!

It’s difficult to express in writing (especially given the circumstances) how much this means to our team. We’re so grateful for the commitment and generosity demonstrated by our partners and fellow gamers.

We estimate these resources can help provide gaming experiences to as many as 422,000 children each year. That’s a massive victory worthy of celebration!

It’s a privilege to do this work and be of service to healthcare workers and families in hospitals. To everyone who streamed, donated, or spread the word on social media – from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! This year’s online event wouldn’t have happened without your support!

If you’re interested in staying involved with Gamers Outreach programs, be sure to check out our website www.GamersOutreach.org, or keep up with our latest updates across TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at the next one – hopefully with a bit more LAN party sprinkled in. Thank you again for your ongoing support and encouragement. It’s meant everything to our team, and more importantly, it will all make an impact in hospitals where it’s needed most!

ASUS & Gamers Outreach

Epic news to share, Gamers Outreach community! We’re excited to announce we’re teaming with ASUS as our official monitor sponsor in 2020! To kick off the partnership, ASUS has made a significant hardware contribution, supporting displays for 250 GO Karts!

GO Karts (Gamers Outreach Karts) are portable video game kiosks built for hospitals. Each unit is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, controllers, and assortment of games. Thanks to GO Karts, healthcare workers can easily manage and provide games to kids who have limited activity options. Currently deployed across more than 200 facilities, we estimate our collective fleet can support between 1.5 – 2 million play sessions for children annually.

“Gamers Outreach and the difference they make for children in hospitals is a truly incredible cause that we’re proud to be a part of,” said Gary Key, Sr. Director of Marketing at ASUS North America. “It is an honor to help serve hospitals, families and children during long-term stays by supporting the delivery of more GO Karts and the positive experiences they provide.”

“This support from ASUS is a massive win for kids and families,” said Zach Wigal, Founder of Gamers Outreach. “We strive to provide gamers in hospitals with the same quality gaming experiences they know at home. Having access to equipment from ASUS will help us deliver premium content, restoring a sense of normalcy and fun in the lives of patients undergoing treatment.”

In celebration of this contribution, we’re excited to welcome ASUS as a returning sponsor of our annual Gamers for Giving fundraiser, taking place on March 28th & 29th at the EMU Convocation Center. During the course of the weekend, we’re aiming to raise $700,000 to provide entertainment devices to hospitalized children and their families.

Interested in getting involved yourself? Gamers for Giving 2020 fundraising has already begun, and you can set up your own campaign in support of the cause through the Tiltify platform.

Whether you’ll be attending Gamers for Giving in March, fundraising online, or volunteering throughout the year, we hope you’ll help others level up, and join us in thanking ASUS for their support!

+1 Advisory Board

Let’s kick 2020 into high gear, Gamers Outreach supporters! Today we’re thrilled to welcome video game industry veteran Miguel Gil to our Advisory Board!

This (growing) advisory board was created to support directors and staff within Gamers Outreach. Each member helps lead development efforts which 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. Dev Team members must be able to foster a team environment and work collaboratively when necessary.
  • Dev Team members are effective communicators, able to identify areas for improvement, and help advance the organization’s mission.

Miguel is the founder of the United States Esports Association (USEA), a non-profit organization with its core mission to foster the growth of recreational and amateur esports in the US. Prior to leading the USEA, Miguel spent 13+ years at Microsoft XBOX where he was mostly involved with the XBOX Hardware team in a variety of roles with focus on portfolio management, strategic planning, business development and financial analysis. He has a passion for the consumer electronics industry and has been serving as a board member of the CTA Accessories Division since 2012. Miguel earned a BS in Engineering from University Fermin Toro and later received his MBA from Stetson University. His personal passions include family, tennis, golf, F1 racing and trying to become better at racing games.

On joining Gamers Outreach, Miguel had this to say…

“I’m extremely proud and honored of having the opportunity to be part of the Gamers Outreach family. I’ve always had an immense respect and admiration for Zach and the Gamers Outreach mission. I had the opportunity to meet Zach at a PAX West conference few years ago (Thanks Astro Gaming for the introduction ) and as soon as I learned about their mission I was hooked. As a previous member of Team XBOX Hardware team, I always took it upon myself to help donate as much XBOX hardware as we could to Gamers Outreach knowing that it was going to reach and bring happiness to so many kids and families during one of the most difficult times in their lives. As an active member of the Gamers Outreach Advisory Board, I want to do my best to help the team working towards achieving the organizations mission.

As a father, I truly believe that no child deserves to spend long periods of time at a hospital, it simply breaks my heart. Knowing that my contributions to the Gamers Outreach team will help bring a spark of happiness to those kids and families really lights my heart. I want to be an active part of the mission Gamers Outreach team and want to continue to grow the impact of such as great organization. Go Team Gamers Outreach!”

So, claps in chat – please join us in welcoming Miguel! We’re excited to continue helping others level up with him on-board!

Gamers for Giving 2020: Registration Opens Jan 17!

Exciting news, Gamers Outreach community! Gamers for Giving 2020 tickets will be available for purchase on Friday, January 17th @ 12 PM eastern!

For those not familiar: Gamers for Giving is a LAN party + streaming marathon that generates resources for Gamers Outreach programs. Through ticket sales, sponsorship, and online donations, last year’s event raised over $637,000 in support of providing entertainment devices to children’s hospitals!

Scheduled for March 28th & 29th, this year’s event will once again take place at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center. We’ve built a new ticketing system to better handle the demand we saw during last year’s registration process.

You’ll be able to visit our registration page when it’s live here.

Additionally, we’ve modified the Gamers for Giving floorplan, allowing us to create space for more seating. Our streamers will now occupy the area of the venue which previously held the broadcast stage.

Our ticket options have simplified a bit this year with Halo being on PC. Here’s a breakdown of the passes that will be available for purchase:

  • General BYOC LAN Seat:
    $45 EARLY BIRD Online (register on or before January 31)
    $55 Online (for registration after January 31)

    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, including this year’s Halo activities. As an attendee, you’ll bring your PC / console and have a dedicated space to play video games for the entire weekend! Internet access, 2 power outlets, table space, and a simple chair are provided with each ticket. We’ll also be supporting a variety of casual activities for leisure-play. Check out the LAN party section of the website to see a list of supplies you’ll want to bring.

  • VIP LAN Seat & Sky Loft:
    $125 EARLY BIRD Online (register on or before January 31)
    $175 Online (for registration after January 31)

    Purchase this ticket if you would like to participate in the BYOC LAN as a VIP. This ticket includes a number of extra benefits such as…

    • Access to the Gamers Outreach Sky Loft – a hospitality lounge with privileged views of the arena floor, set aside as an area for guests and partners. 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.
    • Extra power outlet: VIPS receive 3 power outlets instead of 2.
    • Early access to the venue: VIPs will be able to set up their rigs before all other Gamers for Giving attendees.
    • Gamers for Giving t-shirt: VIPs receive a Gamers for Giving t-shirt as part of their purchase!

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Player Pass:
    $25 Online
    $35 At The Door
    Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2020 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament on Nintendo Switch. This pass grants 1 player with access to the event.

  • Spectator Pass: $0 Online
    There is no fee for spectating at Gamers for Giving, though we’d encourage you to consider making a donation during the event! Register online for a spectator pass if you are a parent accommodating a minor, member of the press, or just someone who wants to come and check out the event!

Be sure to help spread Gamers for Giving hype by tweeting with the hashtag #GFG2020, and check the Gamers for Giving website for the latest news regarding this year’s event! We’re looking forward to seeing you on March 28th & 29th at the EMU Convocation Center!

Annual Summary: 2018 – 2019

In our annual report covering 2018 – 2019, Zach Wigal – founder of Gamers Outreach – reflects on our identity as a video game charity, the growth of our programs, and the importance of providing hospitalized families with access to recreation. This summary covers our 2018 financials, which influenced program activity in both 2018 and 2019. Distinctions are noted where applicable.

As a lifelong video game enthusiast, I get excited sharing stories about my favorite video games to anyone willing to listen. That passion for gaming is amplified in hospitals, where it’s clear video games make a tremendous difference in the lives of people receiving care.

In the midst of hard times, kids deserve a chance to be themselves. As gamers, we’re in a unique position to exercise our knowledge in a way that reinforces healthcare staff and brings relief to children undergoing treatment.

Over the last 12 years, our team has been on a quest to help make hospitals more fun. It’s our belief entertainment brings people together through activity and story. Being in the hospital can be lonely and stressful. Our goal at Gamers Outreach is to restore a sense of normalcy and joy in people’s lives – and we do it through video games!

In the midst of our enthusiasm to be helpful, it’s important to know what we stand for while also being considerate of the healthcare environment.

Our Vision, Mission, & Core Beliefs

Gamers Outreach is a for-purpose organization that provides equipment, technology, and software to help patients cope with treatment inside hospitals. We exist to inspire and heal patients through play. We believe in a world where technology is used to help prioritize the patient experience alongside research and care.

This sense of purpose is guided by five tenets:

  • 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. Undergoing medical treatment can often be a scary and isolating experience, especially for young people. We believe video games are diverse 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 the well-being of our community and those we support in hospitals.

Our Programs

Over the years, we’ve observed healthcare staff largely face two challenges in relation to providing digital activities to patients:

  • Many hospitals are not equipped with entertainment devices or infrastructure that make 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 a number of factors (unfamiliarity with equipment, existing responsibilities, ease of mobility, bandwidth limitations, etc.)

Currently, the majority of our resources are dedicated towards addressing these challenges through two initiatives:

  • Project GO Kart: Gamers Outreach constructs portable video game kiosks called “GO Karts” (Gamers Outreach Karts). These kiosks are a tool that help staff easily provide bedside activities to children unable to leave their rooms. Each GO Kart is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, and assortment of games. The carts provide an efficient way to ensure kids have access to entertainment and coping mechanisms during hospitalization. Each unit also has an internal lift mechanism, which allows healthcare staff to adjust the GO Kart to a patient’s bedside, accommodating a variety of medical scenarios when a patient’s mobility may be limited.
  • Player 2: Player 2 is a program where gamers have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve acquired through gaming in a manner that supports patients and staff within hospitals. By volunteering, gamers become “digital activity managers” and serve by managing equipment, providing tech support, and playing games with patients. Many hospitals receive game donations, but without proper staffing to manage inventory at a mass scale, it can become difficult for tech donations to properly serve patients as intended. Player 2 helps address this issue by ensuring knowledgeable individuals are present to distribute technology and exercise its positive benefits.

Current Impact

Since last year’s report, our collective program footprint has grown by 40%. Nearly 700 GO Karts now exist across more than 200 hospitals in the United States and Canada!

Based on feedback from hospitals, we estimate each GO Kart is used by an average of 6 – 8 children per day. With this metric in mind, our fleet of units has capacity to support between  1.5 – 2 million play sessions annually!

It’s important to emphasize we think of our impact in terms of play sessions. There are instances a GO Kart may be used by the same child day-to-day. There are also scenarios where a GO Kart is deployed in a playroom and used by 20+ children per day. Our patient impact reflects what we believe to be “potential capacity” for use given the number of GO Karts which exist in hospitals.

Currently, we believe this estimate is realistic given the scale of healthcare as well as feedback from hospital staff. As an example: in 2018, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles reported more than 556,000 patient visits. That’s a single hospital. A GO Kart deployed in such a facility is likely to be shared by a wide number of patients each day.

Frequent visitors to our website may have also noticed a small change to our impact map – it’s now global.

By direct request, we’ve begun making GO Karts available to hospitals overseas. As of this writing, a small handful of units are scheduled to be deployed beyond North America in 2020 with help from respective donors.

It will still be some time before we’re consistently deploying GO Karts globally. Our focus is the United States, and general donations fuel our national work. But it’s wonderful to recognize the sense of cultural unity games facilitate, and our ability as gamers to make a difference worldwide.

We’ve continued to encourage gamer volunteerism within hospitals. Most notably, a program page now exists for our initiative, Player 2! For those interested in making an on-going volunteer commitment, check the program page to find a participating hospital. Even if a participating facility isn’t nearby, it’s still worthwhile to submit a volunteer application in the event a new hospital is added!

Open enrollment is also now available for hospitals interested in welcoming Player 2 volunteers. If you’re a hospital staffer that could benefit from Player 2, fill out the “Hospital Enrollment” form on the Player 2 program page.

Note: each hospital we work with is capable of supporting only a limited number of Player 2 volunteers. Not all applicants may have the opportunity to participate in the initiative. That said, we still have a number of general volunteer opportunities available to help setup GO Karts, or assist hospitals with tech support!

Finances

With help from the gaming community and a number of committed donors, Gamers Outreach generated $1.6 million in contributions during the 2018 fiscal year – a 23% increase from 2017.

Our fundraising growth was made possible thanks to broader awareness of our initiatives, and an increase in overall support across multiple revenue categories (individual donors, stream campaigns, sponsors, grants, earned program revenue, etc).

Notably, we were fortunate to be generously supported by developers behind the popular video game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, as well as our friends at Child’s Play, who played a large role in helping us expand our GO Kart program to hospitals around the United States.

Our functional expenses more than doubled from 2017, with nearly $1 million being spent within the calendar year to facilitate our increased impact in hospitals. During this period of growth, our spending ratio remained nearly identical to 2017, with over 80% of our total expenses being allocated for programs.

The end result? As noted above – our program range has dramatically increased, and we’re now capable of supporting an additional 500,000 play sessions for hospitalized kids since last year’s report!

For those interested, our full Form 990 can be downloaded here.

Our annual streaming marathon & LAN party, Gamers for Giving, still holds the title as being our largest fundraiser year over year. A number of sponsors make the event possible, and it’s thanks to a handful of enthusiastic streamers we’ve been able to continue to expand Gamers Outreach programs. While it won’t be reflected until our next 990 release, Gamers for Giving 2019 brought in over $637,000!

Looking ahead, Gamers for Giving 2020 will take place on March 28th & 29th at the EMU Convocation Center. This will be our 12th annual fundraiser, and we’re hoping to raise $700,000 over the course of the big weekend. Registration will open in mid January, and information for the event can be found at www.GamersforGiving.org.

Defining Success & The Future

Ultimately, we’re here to help revolutionize the patient experience in hospitals. That’s a grand vision – and it’s difficult to make blanket objectives that encompass the diverse landscape of children’s hospitals around the country.

To bridge the gap, last year we defined a core set of categories that help us define “success” in each hospital we work. Every hospital is different, but we believe these four considerations are ubiquitous across facilities:

  • Equipment / Content Saturation. Each hospital environment is unique in its ability to house equipment and provide patients with access to content. Simply put: 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 activity. What entertainment offerings existed (if any) to patients prior to Gamers Outreach programs, and how accessible were those activities to patients? Example: did patients need to wait X hours before they were able to play 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. We are presently engaged in assisting with research to determine what (if any) statistical correlations exist.
  • Improved Patient Experience. For our purposes, we think of 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.

Thank You!

Gamers Outreach wouldn’t exist without ongoing support from the gaming community and the tireless dedication of hospital staff making a difference in the lives of kids and their families.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to be a champion for kids in hospitals. As gamers, it’s been an honor for our team to make this work a reality.

From everyone at Gamers Outreach, we wish you a wonderful holiday season, and a fantastic new year. We hope you’ll join us in helping others level up in 2020!