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Blog: General News


Gamers Outreach on CNN

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Exciting news, Gamers Outreach community! Our founder Zach Wigal has been named a 2019 CNN Hero!

CNN Heroes celebrates “everyday people changing the world,” each of whom shows how one person can truly make a difference.

Wigal, who founded Gamers Outreach in 2007, is representing our cause as part of this year’s list of nonprofit change agents.

As a team, we’re proud to share this honor with our volunteers and donors who make a difference for kids in hospitals every day! We hope this recognition is of benefit to the families we work to support in healthcare facilities nationwide.

You can check out the full article / videos on CNN’s website here.

As of this blog post, our annual Gamers for Giving fundraiser in is two weeks (great timing)! We hope you’ll join us at the EMU Convocation Center on March 23rd & 24th to celebrate this victory, and help make an even bigger difference for hospitalized children!

Dev Team Expansion: Welcome Jeff Royle

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In late 2016, we announced the creation of “The Dev Team” (Dev Team). Analogous to an advisory board, our Dev Team will comprise game industry veterans, medical professionals, and corporate leaders dedicated to advancing Gamers Outreach programs through fundraising, advocacy, and guidance.

The Dev Team exists to support directors and staff within Gamers Outreach. They help lead development efforts which grow the impact of Gamers Outreach activities. Their involvement provides our team with a valuable third-party perspective on internal discussions, and their passion for our cause helps rally community action.

This year, we’re hoping to welcome between 3 – 5 new members to our Dev Team to join existing member, Scott “SirScoots” Smith. It’s our intent to cultivate an advisory board comprised of professionals from a wide range of disciplines (both within and outside the gaming industry).

We’ve outlined a few key qualities to guide our consideration of candidates. Dev Team 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.

With that said, today we’re excited to welcome our newest Dev Team member, Jeff Royle.

Jeff is a game industry veteran with over 21 years of experience in business development and game developer relations. Throughout his career, he’s held positions with AMD, Razer, and most recently – NZXT & Lightstream (two sponsors of Gamers Outreach). Jeff has driven product and software partnerships with the likes of Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Epic, Bethesda, Valve, Rockstar, 2K, Wargaming, SquareEnix, and Razer – to name a few.

“When I first learned about Gamers Outreach, and then later had the opportunity to visit one of the hospitals that had received GO Karts, I saw firsthand how much impact these devices have for children staying in care facilities,” said Jeff. “Not only do games provide entertainment and a way to connect with friends and family, but more importantly, they help patients heal and not feel isolated in what can be a scary and overwhelming experience. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the video game industry for over 20 years. I’ve seen many smiling faces from players who get to enjoy the games we help create. Getting involved with Gamers Outreach was an easy choice for me. I want to help bring smiles to the faces of those who may need it most.”

“We’re thrilled to formally welcome Jeff to Gamers Outreach,” said Zach Wigal, founder of Gamers Outreach. “His experience in the industry brings a deep level of insight which will surely be valuable as we continue to bring entertainment to hospitalized patients.”

We’re so glad Jeff is part of the team and look forward to having his guidance as we continue to help others level up! Welcome, Jeff!

Gamers for Giving 2019 Registration Has Opened!

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Gamers rejoice across the land! Registration to participate in Gamers for Giving 2019 has opened!

All tickets are sold through our friends at the Intel LANFest series and can be purchased here.

Gamers for Giving 2019 will take place on March 23rd & 24th at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center.

This year, we’re hoping to raise $500,000 in support of providing entertainment to hospitalized children across the country. We’ve been able to make incredible progress these last few years, which has largely been made possible thanks to Gamers for Giving!

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As always, news related to this year’s festivities will be available on the Gamers for Giving website. Be sure to check back frequently as we’ll be releasing updates weekly. For a listing of available tickets, see here.

You can help spread Gamers for Giving hype by using the hashtag #GFG2019 on Twitter or Instagram. And even if you can’t make the event – you can still organize a fundraiser in support of the cause!

We hope to see you on March 23rd & 24th at the EMU Convocation Center!

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Annual Summary: 2017 – 2018

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Scott “SirScoots” Smith & Zach Wigal of Gamers Outreach

In our annual report covering 2017 – 2018, Zach Wigal – founder of Gamers Outreach – reflects on our 10 year anniversary, the expansion of our programs, and the impact video games and the video game community are capable of making in hospitals worldwide. For clarity: this report provides a summary of our 2017 financials, which influenced program activities fulfilled in both 2017 & 2018. Distinctions are noted where applicable.

Achievement unlocked: provide entertainment to hospitalized children for 10 years.

The time between 2017 – 2018 marked a special transitional period for Gamers Outreach. As many of our supporters are aware, it was during this past year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our annual fundraiser, Gamers for Giving. It’s been a decade since a group of high school kids first organized a video game tournament that spawned a movement dedicated to providing entertainment to hospitalized children. And wow, we sure are proud of what’s been accomplished so far!

Before I reflect on the growth we’ve experienced since our last report, I’d like to talk about our mission, sense of identity, and provide perspective on why we feel this work is so important. Internally, our team has crafted a handful of “core beliefs” which guide our program implementation, messaging, and priorities as an organization.

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Our Vision, Mission & Core Beliefs

Gamers Outreach is a nonprofit organization that provides equipment, technology, and software to help patients cope with treatment inside hospitals. We exist to inspire and heal patients through the power of play.

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 being treated in a healthcare environment. Our organization provides resources that help make video game content readily available and easy to manage in hospitals.
  • Why do we do it.
    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 identify, 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.

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Our Programs

In our time working with hospitals nationwide, we’ve observed healthcare professionals face two primary challenges in relation to providing patients with digital recreation:

  • Many hospitals are not equipped with entertainment devices 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.)

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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 enable nurses to easily provide bedside activities to children unable to leave their rooms in hospitals. Each GO Kart is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, and assortment of games. The carts provide a safe, flexible, and 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.

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Current Impact

In our last annual report, we noted Gamers Outreach programs were impacting as many as 236,000 patients across ~30 hospitals.

Thanks to investments in scalability, (shoutout to Child’s Play and the team at PUBG Corp.) and with support from the gaming community – we’re proud to share we’ve now constructed GO Karts for nearly 200 hospitals!!

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While a portion of these GO Karts are still in the process of being scheduled for delivery through Q1 and Q2 of 2019, just under 500 units comprise our collective fleet.  When fully deployed, the GO Karts we’ve constructed will be capable of supporting between 1.1 – 1.4 million patients annually!!! 

That’s a 366% increase in the number of children and families with access to play!

Our impact estimate is based on usage feedback we’ve received from hospital staff. On average, we believe between 6 – 8 children benefit from a single GO Kart per day.

That said, there may be instances where the same patient(s) use a GO Kart multiple times in a given period. There may be other instances where a GO Kart is left in a playroom and enjoyed by 20+ patients per day. Our patient impact estimate reflects what we believe to be “potential capacity” for use, given the number of GO Karts which exist in hospitals.

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Nothing quite illustrates growth like a friendly GIF, so I wanted to show you the below image to help provide perspective on our expansion. The first portion of this GIF illustrates the number of hospitals we supported ~early 2016. The second image shows approximate locations of hospitals we’ve built GO Karts for within the U.S. as of this report*:

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As you can see, it’s been a busy couple years, and it’s all been made possible thanks to support from our fellow gamers.

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In addition to building GO Karts, we’ve taken an active role in promoting volunteerism within the gaming community.

As GO Karts are deployed across regions, opportunities are available for video game enthusiasts to assist with setup and tech support inquiries that arise throughout a GO Kart’s lifespan. In fact, the majority of GO Karts we’ve delivered in the past year have been setup by local volunteers!

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For those with interest in making an on-going commitment, Player 2 has become available in 7 hospitals nationwide. Facilities participating in the program include…

  • C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children (Huntsville, Alabama)
  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital (Syracuse, New York)
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital (Chicago, Illinois)
  • St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

It’s worth noting: each hospital is capable of supporting a limited quantity of Player 2 volunteers, and not all applicants may have the opportunity to participate in the initiative due to availability. That said, applying to volunteer is certainly worthwhile, and may still result in opportunities to help setup GO Karts or assist a hospital with tech support!

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We’ve withheld creating a dedicated web page for the Player 2 initiative as we’re still collecting feedback and working to establish cadence with partnered hospitals. For those interested in getting involved – make sure to submit a volunteer application and continue checking the Gamers Outreach blog for updates on volunteer opportunities!

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Finances

Thanks to a number of generous donors, we’ve been able to expand the impact of Gamers Outreach programs – helping more patients and families than ever before!

2017 marked the first year Gamers Outreach entered seven-figure fundraising territory, generating more than $1.3 million in monetary contributions. 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).

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We’re proud to share in that same year, 80% of our total expenses were directly related to Gamers Outreach programs (independently verified by Warmels & Comstock). As you can see from the scale of our outreach, these funds made a tremendous difference in our ability to deliver entertainment to hospitalized patients and their families. For those interested, our full Form 990 can be downloaded here.

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Of course, our annual fundraiser Gamers for Giving has continued to unite the gaming community in support of hospitalized patients. By seat count, we believe Gamers for Giving is currently the third largest BYOC LAN party in North America behind QuakeCon and DreamHack. While that’s not a data point we concern ourselves with too much, it’s something I think our community can take great pride in – knowing so many of us come together each year to make an incredible difference in the lives of others.

We celebrated the event’s 10th anniversary this past April, and raised $772K+ for Gamers Outreach programs (to be noted in next year’s annual report). That result was made possible thanks to attendee entry fees, an incredible gift from PUBG Corp, and the generosity of a number of streamers who rallied their communities in support of this year’s effort.

Gamers for Giving 2019 will take place on March 23rd & 24th at the EMU Convocation Center. We can’t wait to usher in a new decade of giving, and hope you’ll join our efforts to make a difference in hospitals! Registration will open in early January, and information for the event can be found at www.GamersforGiving.org.

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Defining Success & The Future

When I think about the future of Gamers Outreach, I try to imagine what the perfect entertainment experience looks like in the hospital environment. I then ask “what can we do as gamers to make that a reality?”

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To that end, we’ve been working to define success metrics that assess impact beyond our intuition. We know from personal experience the value games have in our lives. We’ve also clearly observed the sense of joy and relief games help produce for people in hospitals. Going forward, we intend to begin quantifying these observations through a handful of metrics which collectively help us evaluate the “success” of Gamers Outreach programs:

  • 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 ultimately 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, and intend to conduct research to determine whether a statistical correlation exists.
  • 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, and intend to begin producing annual samples that assess the validity of this belief.

Thank You!

We’re so proud of the work that’s been accomplished thus far. We continue to be humbled by the generosity of the gaming community, and inspired by the courage of hospitalized children and their families. We promise to continue doing our part as gamers to work hand-in-hand with healthcare professionals in an effort to evolve the entertainment experience in hospitals.

Our deepest thanks go out to everyone who has been involved with Gamers Outreach through the years. Whether you tweeted, volunteered, or donated – this has all been made possible with your support.

We look forward to expanding in 2019, and hope you’ll continue to join us on our quest to help others level up!

Have a wonderful new year! We’ll see you in 2019!

*Note: at the time of this post, we’re updating our website back-end. The impact GIF illustrates our current scale, though not all hospitals are listed on our website impact map.

Gamers Outreach at E3 2018

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During E3 2018, we had the privilege to partner with our friends at Xbox in support of Gamers Outreach programs. Since 2007, our team has been working to provide equipment, technology, and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals. We exist to inspire and heal patients through interactive play.

Xbox and Microsoft’s gaming franchises have been a part of our identity since our founding, and presently, the majority of our GO Karts deployed in hospitals are equipped with Xbox consoles. Given our history with the brand (and as fans), it was incredibly surreal to have the opportunity to work with the Xbox team during one of the video game industry’s biggest events of the year.

Our E3 week kicked off on Sunday with the Xbox press conference. If you caught the broadcast, you may have noticed Phil Spencer was wearing a Gamers Outreach tee! Shortly after walking on stage, Phil announced all proceeds from Xbox FanFest would be donated to Gamers Outreach in support of helping us bring entertainment to hospitalized children. Through those ticket sales, Xbox fans generated $20,000 for Gamers Outreach programs!


In addition to FanFest ticket sales, Aaron Greenberg helped raise another $5,000 through an online campaign in memory of Xbox Addict. Those community donations will be helping us provide a GO Kart and assortment of games to a hospital in Xbox Addict’s hometown. All donors who contributed at least $70 to the campaign during E3 will also be receiving a commemorative Xbox Addict controller.

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On Sunday evening, our founder Zach Wigal had the opportunity to talk about Gamers Outreach alongside Major Nelson in a theater of more than 500 Xbox fans. As of this blog post, Gamers Outreach is maintaining a presence in nearly 50 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. We estimate our initiatives are capable of benefiting more than 400,000 children per year. What’s more: we expect to double our impact thanks to commitments to support over 800,000 children in 200 hospitals this year.

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With all that growth, we’re going to need the help of the gaming community to deliver GO Karts and ensure hospitals are capable of maximizing the benefits games provide to patients! We invited our fellow Xbox fans to volunteer at their local hospitals as Gamers Outreach expands throughout 2018. If you filled out a volunteer application, be on the lookout in the coming months for an email from our team members!

On Monday, we organized a little mixer for our fellow gaming peeps visiting Los Angeles. It was wonderful to catch up with so many friends and make a few new ones! Thanks to everyone who joined us at the first ever Gamers Outreach prE3 mixer at PRANK bar in downtown LA! It’s definitely just the beginning of many more west coast events to come ;).

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Of course, we had to wrap E3 the best way we know how – by delivering some GO Karts! With support from Xbox FanFest attendees, we delivered our very first Xbox One X GO Karts to Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA! Each GO Kart will provide hospitalized kids with access to entertainment for years into the future. Massive thanks to all the Xbox FanFest attendees for making this possible. This was just the first delivery supported by FanFest ticket sales of more to come!

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We’re so grateful to team Xbox and the gaming community for coming together to make a difference for kids and families in hospitals. Everyone’s support has an impact. E3 is an incredible stage to raise awareness for the work being done in hospitals and all there is still to do. On behalf of our fellow gamers going through hospitalization, THANK YOU to Xbox for helping us build support for this cause and sharing your voice during E3 2018!

Until next year!

BANDAI NAMCO Partners With Gamers Outreach

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Pretty cool story to share, fellow gamers! The team from BANDAI NAMCO America recently led a fundraising effort in support of Gamers Outreach! With support from their community, they were able to raise more than $20,000 to help bring entertainment to hospitalized children!

Official press release below!

BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA INC. PARTNERS WITH GAMERS OUTREACH TO HELP CHILDREN IN HOSPITALS LEVEL-UP

Over $20,000 Donated to Provide Equipment, Technology, and Software to Help Young Patients Cope and Recover from Illness 

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (May 24, 2018) – Leading anime video game developer and publisher BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. announced today it has raised and is donating over $20,000 to Gamers Outreach in support of the foundation’s mission to provide recreation and entertainment to children recovering from the treatment of long term illnesses in hospitals through the power of video games. The donated funds will go directly to the creation of additional “GO Karts” or Gamers Outreach Karts – portable, medical-grade gaming kiosks which healthcare staff can use to transport gaming consoles and games to children who are not able to leave their rooms during their recovery. GO Karts have already been stationed at nearly 50 hospitals around the United States and support over 450,000 children annually during their recoveries.

“As a video game company, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America is excited to see the power of video games brighten the day of a child recovering from illness. Video games can transport children to distant lands for grand adventures, empower them with super powers, and most importantly, deliver a simple smile and some comfort.” said Denny Chiu, Director, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “By lifting their spirits, we hope to help these brave young patients through their healing process and provide a semblance of fun and normalcy to their day. We also want to thank our generous fans who donated funds during our livestream, our combined donations will surely add a boost to help Gamers Outreach in its mission of bringing joy, creating smiles, and making the day special for countless kids.”

“We’re incredibly grateful to the team from BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America for this generous gift of more than $20,000 in support of providing entertainment devices to hospitalized children,” said Zach Wigal, Founder of Gamers Outreach. “As an organization, our focus is to help normalize the hospital experience by ensuring games and recreation are available to patients, and easy for healthcare professionals to manage. GO Karts are a tool hospital staff rely on as a way to deliver content to patients who have limited accessibility during treatment. The GO Karts built by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America will be making a difference in the lives of children and their families for years to come!

Funds donated by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. are comprised of charitable donations raised during an eight hour “Let’s Play Anime” charity livestream which raised $5,484 from viewers and fans. The livestream featured gameplay segments featuring BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment’s latest games. The livestream was hosted by BANDAI NAMCO team members and social media influencers. During the program, viewers made donations in support of the livestream to benefit Gamers Outreach. Additional funds were donated by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. by matching the $5,484 donated by livestream viewers and with an additional $10,000 for a grand donation total of $20,968.

For more information on BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., please visit: https://www.bandainamcoent.com. For more information about Gamers Outreach Foundation, please visit: https://gamersoutreach.org.

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About BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., part of BANDAI NAMCO Holdings Inc., is a leading global publisher and developer of interactive entertainment for all major video game consoles, iOS, Android, and online platforms. The company is known for creating and publishing many of the industry’s top video game franchises including PAC-MAN®, GALAGA®, TEKKEN®, SOULCALIBUR®, and ACE COMBAT®. BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. is the premier publisher in the Western hemisphere for anime based video games including NARUTO SHIPPUDEN™, DRAGON BALL Z®, and ONE PIECE®. More information about the company and its products can be found at http://www.bandainamcoent.com or www.facebook.com/BandaiNamcoUS

About Gamers Outreach Foundation

Gamers Outreach is a 501(c)(3) charity organization that provides recreation to children in hospitals through the power of video games and the gaming community. Hospitalization can often be a lonely, isolating, and scary experience for young people. Gamers Outreach eases those burdens by providing equipment, technology, and software that help kids cope with long-term treatment. More information can be found at www.GamersOutreach.org

All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

Press Release © 2018 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.

 

Contact:

Nick O’Leary
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.
408-235-2134
noleary@bandainamcoent.com

Aaron Greenberg Joins Board of Directors

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We have some exciting news to share, fellow gamers, and we could think of no better time to do so than the weekend of our biggest event of the year, Gamers for Giving!

Today we’re proud to announce Aaron Greenberg has joined our board of directors!

As General Manager of Xbox Games Marketing, Aaron leads the games product marketing team across 1st and 3rd party titles at Microsoft. His daily work puts him at the forefront of the Xbox ecosystem, where he oversees a network of staff creating experiences for gaming enthusiasts worldwide.

“Aaron is an accomplished veteran of the games industry, and has been a champion for Gamers Outreach programs and the patients we serve in hospitals,” said Zach Wigal, Founder of Gamers Outreach. “Our team is inspired by his enthusiasm, and his professional expertise will be of great value as our initiatives become more widespread in the coming years.”

An advocate of Gamers Outreach programs, Aaron has personally made a significant impact for patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital through “Project GO Kart.” With the help of the Xbox community, Aaron mobilized fundraising efforts which led to the construction of 10 portable video game kiosks for patients undergoing long-term care. It’s estimated each GO Kart unit supports more than 2,900 children annually.

Aaron joins Gamers Outreach in the midst of historically significant growth as we work towards supporting more than 800,000 patients across 200 facilities in 2018.

We’re so proud to have Aaron as part of our leadership team, and look forward to making an incredible difference in the lives of patients for years to come!

Gamers Outreach Is Hiring!

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Applications can be submitted here.

Exciting news, fellow gamers! GAMERS OUTREACH IS HIRING!!

Gamers Outreach Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps thousands of children in hospitals across North America benefit from the power of interactive play through our programs. As witnesses ourselves, it’s clearly evident digital recreation helps create a sense of joy and relief for children receiving treatment. Video games make a tremendous impact within healthcare facilities.

We believe the stories of patients deserve to be shared.  By doing so, we hope to raise awareness of the needs hospitals face, the battles being fought by children and their families, how technology makes a difference, and ways for communities to get involved.

To lead this effort, Gamers Outreach is seeking a seasoned Content Marketing & Social Media Director to join our crew.

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This is a hybrid role that requires a mix of skills. The ideal candidate will develop and execute strategies to attract supporters and inspire actions that grow the impact of Gamers Outreach programs within hospitals. This person will report to the Executive Director and develop unforgettable campaigns that shed light on patients, hospital staff, and the role of entertainment in healthcare facilities. The person who fills this role will oversee the entirety of our digital presence including our website, social media channels, email, marketing automation, display, affiliate SEM, and SEO.

We’re looking for a high energy team player who is capable of working autonomously to materialize our vision through the power of story. This is a remote position.

Sound like the perfect role for you? Read below for the specific responsibilities! We’ll be accepting applications from March – May, with the intent of beginning interviews in late May, and hiring in June / July.

Role: Content Marketing & Social Media Director

Responsibilities

  • Lead the strategic development and implementation of all digital communication solutions.
  • Design and implement digital marketing campaigns focused on awareness, audience growth, and conversion.
  • Bring Gamers Outreach programs to life through story. Work with hospitals, patients, and their families to share the impact of technology in the healthcare setting with a sense of joy and dignity.
  • Create and manage media content across all social channels. Recruit and manage content teams responsible for collecting photo / video assets for use in marketing materials.
  • Develop and own quarterly content planning calendar for all website and key social media posts. Monitor, listen, and respond to community across social channels. Maintain a regular publishing schedule and implement a content editorial calendar with consideration to organization-wide events and program implementation.
  • Provide quarterly report recapping key metrics and events, illustrating how content correlates with program growth.
  • Utilize data and social analytics to effectively engage supporters and refine campaigns.
  • Become the “voice” of Gamers Outreach. Maintain a communication tone that connects with both gaming enthusiasts and healthcare professionals.

Must-Haves

  • At least 5 – 7 years of hands-on digital marketing experience
  • Strong interpersonal and communication (written and oral) skills with the ability to work well cross-functionally and interact with internal / external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated success managing and growing social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) for brands and/or consumer goods companies.
  • The ideal candidate is a video game enthusiast with a passion for making a difference in the world. This person believes in the cause of Gamers Outreach.
  • Experience as a content creator or managing creative teams (photographers, agencies, graphic designers, videographers) to develop asset libraries that can be leveraged for effective messaging.
  • Solid expertise in all areas of marketing strategy development including customer targeting, brand strategy, integrated communications planning, brand and corporate partnerships, campaign measurement and optimization, digital and social media strategy and analytics.
  • Ability to travel 15% – 25% of the time (domestically)
  • Strong understanding of technology and software pertinent to the role.
  • Preference for a candidate that has experience with nonprofits.

Skills

  • You take initiative.
    You see something that needs improvement and you take action. You propose solutions to problems. You have a proven ability to plan, lead, implement and track marketing projects from concept through implementation. You’re proactive about making sure various departments have the information they need about your projects. You work well autonomously.
  • You know what you’re doing.
    You’re a born marketer with a proven track record managing a high performing marketing function. You’re a true marketing generalist with a broad range of hands-on experience. You have a strong understanding of the online marketing ecosystem and a deep understanding of all online marketing channels (e.g. email, marketing automation, social media, display, affiliate, SEM and SEO). You can handle just about anything that comes your way.
  • You’re a communications ace.
    You know that the secret to success is keeping people in the know. You not only know what to communicate but when, how and why it’s important. You possess exceptional interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
  • You’re big hearted.
    You take pride in being a do-gooder and live with a sense of altruism in your personal and professional life. You have a genuine concern for others and want to make the world a better place.
  • You’re a leader.
    Community leadership and participation (both online and offline) are integral to the success of this role. An essential component of this role is communicating the Gamers Outreach brand and those we represent in a positive, authentic way.

Benefits
Working at Gamers Outreach comes with a variety of benefits! While we’re open to working with contractors or agencies to fill this position, full-time employees can expect the following:

  • Retirement
    • 401K and Employer Match
  • Healthcare 
    • Dental & Vision
    • Flexible Spending Account
    • Employer-paid Life Insurance
    • Employer-paid Short & Long Term Disability
  • The Anywhere Office
    • Unlimited vacation policy. Just make sure your work is done!
    • Paid Holidays
    • Work Remotely
  • Weekly Staff Gaming Session
    • Gaming day every Wednesday afternoon with co-workers.
  • 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 all applicants! We look forward to reviewing your submission!

Applications can be submitted here.

Founder of Charity-Gaming Talks Benefits of Video Games in Hospital

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Jim Weller (second from the right) is the Assistant Director of Patient Experience at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH), and we recently had the chance to sit down and discuss the benefits of video games for children in hospitals.

Jim has worked in hospitals his entire life, and is the founder of Charity-Gaming – a nonprofit organization that help kids stricken with illness feel like normal kids by providing an escape through video games. Charity-Gaming provides handheld gaming systems to patients to make their hospital stay more comfortable. Bonus feature: the patients actually keep the systems!

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Our partnership started when Jim was looking for a video game cart to purchase for SIUH. His research led him to Gamers Outreach – and after a bit of fundraising, Jim managed to construct two GO Karts for patients at the hospital! Most recently, Jim’s organization placed three more GO Karts within nearby facilities in New York, bringing his total number of GO Karts constructed to 5 units.

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Another strong motivator for Jim was his own experience seeing his father treated at the hospital. Jim’s goal is to ensure every patient at every hospital has access to video games. There are many benefits to having video games accessible at the bedside, including building math skills and inspiring creativity with games like Minecraft. Video games are powerful developmental tools for kids to build critical thinking and, we believe as does Jim, that the full potential of this has not been tapped. With the help of video games, Jim notes an upswing in not only patient happiness, but hospital staff happiness as well as the parents of the patients.

We look forward to working together with Jim on our combined quest to provide access to video games to every child being treated at a hospital.

Four Ways To Build Your Own GO Kart

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With the new production process complete, it’s now cheaper and more accessible than ever to build a Gamers Outreach Kart (GO Kart)!

Not familiar? GO Karts are portable video game kiosks built specifically for the medical environment. Each unit is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, and assortment of games. GO Karts enable nurses to easily provide bedside activities to children in hospitals who are unable to leave their rooms for extended periods of time. Each kart offers a safe and efficient way to ensure kids have access to entertainment.

Once constructed, GO Karts make an impact that lasts for many years. Our first GO Kart was built in 2009 and still exists in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital! We estimate a GO Kart is used (on average) by ~8 children per day, which means a single unit could benefit nearly 3,000 patients per year!

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The donor commitment for each GO Kart is $3,500 – which covers everything – the kart itself, gaming console, games, monitor, controllers, freight shipping (to any hospital in the mainland U.S.) setup, and a 2 year warranty!

Interested in building a GO Kart for your local hospital? Here are four ways you can get started:

Fundraising Platform
Looking for a way to collect donations from friends, coworkers, or fans on social media? Make use of the of the Gamers Outreach Fundraising platform! Each fundraising page can be uniquely tailored to your story. Customize your page by inserting your own fundraising video or stream (or use the default we provide). You can also add a description to your page, sharing why this cause is important to you, and asking friends for support. The goal for a GO Kart is set at $3,500, but you can also edit this amount to a custom goal (perhaps if you’d like to build multiple karts, or just generally fundraise). If you’re interested in building a GO Kart and raising funds on an on-going basis, our fundraising platform is the most streamlined way to get the job done! Once you’ve completed your GO Kart campaign, you’ll receive a congratulatory email, and one of our team members will get in touch to start the conversation about your new GO Kart donation!

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Organize a Community Event
Start your own gaming event, go door to door, throw a charity soccer tournament at school, the possibilities are endless! The old school methods are tried and true. You can’t go wrong putting in some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, and the more accessible you make your event, the easier it will be to start the groundswell of support. Sporting tournaments are a great idea – especially if you’re in middle school or high school and have access to plenty of people and simple marketing. Pick the most popular sport at your school and downsize the roster requirement to allow more teams to participate. If you want to have a football tournament, make it a 5v5 flag football tournament; if you want to have a soccer or basketball tournament, make it 3v3; or any other sport! Or maybe your school has a gaming club (if not, you should be the one to get it started!) that would have interest in helping to organize a fundraiser. The big takeaway here is this: activities help bring people together and can be a great way to raise money. You just have to pick one and get started! Contact some local businesses for sponsorship and ask for gift cards or prizes for the winners. To reduce your stress as the tournament organizer, be sure to have people enter by donating on the Gamers Outreach Fundraising platform. You won’t have to worry about collecting money, and your supporters will be able to receive individual tax receipts!

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Summon Your Fellow Gamers
Through the power of streaming sites, like Twitch, you can broadcast your fundraiser to the masses! Hop on the sticks (or mouse and keyboard), and start streaming your favorite game in support of the cause. Take this to the next level by organizing a streaming marathon with your friends. We’ve had marathons last up to a full week, featuring multiple streamers in shifts, but you can play for as long or short as you’d like. Similar to organizing a community event, you can reach out to companies for donations so that your stream will be packed with giveaways and other fun activities for the viewers. Don’t forget to drop that link to your fundraising page in your panels and blast it out all over social media!

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Direct Contribution
Perhaps you’re in a position to directly contribute $3,500. Sponsoring a GO Kart build or purchasing a unit for a hospital is fairly straightforward. Simply email us at contact@gamersoutreach.org letting us know you’d like to acquire a unit. We can provide you with an invoice, or you can make a straight donation on our website. Just be sure to drop us an email so we can know where you’d like your GO Kart sent! We’ll follow up with all the usual questions, and even help organize a visit with the hospital if it’s of interest! We recognize all our donors atop each GO Kart – so sponsoring a unit could be a great charity project for your workplace!

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Got another idea for how to build GO Karts? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Thinking about getting started yourself? In the words of a famous sports company – JUST DO IT! But most importantly, GL HF. We can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish for kiddos in hospitals!