Snoop Lion, Edward Norton, and Eva Longoria help launch 'Words With Friends Celebrity Challenge' for charity

Play Words With Friends to help win money for charity

Social games giant Zynga has partnered with American Express to launch a celebrity challenge in Words With Friends to raise money for charity, the company announced today.

The challenge has brought on celebrities like Kristen Bell, Sophia Bush, Jonah Hill, John Legend, Snoop Lion, Eva Longoria, Edward Nortion and Paul Pierce, who will each be competing against each other in Zynga's word-making game, Words With Friends. Players at home can download a free version of the game and sign up to join a celebrity team. When players join a celebrity team, every word they play will earn the team points, boosting the team's ranking. Zynga and American express have put up a $500,000 prize – the higher a team's ranking, the more money they'll raise for the charity of their choice.

"We hope that everyone joins in and plays with their favorite celebrity. When it comes to charity, every word counts, and there is no easier way to donate to a good cause then by simply playing a few rounds of Words With Friends," said Travis Boatman, senior vice president of mobile at Zynga.

"Every word they play will earn the team points ... the higher a team's ranking, the more money they'll raise for the charity of their choice."

American Express' vice president of digital brand and social media development said: "Words with Friends is an extremely powerful social game that has shown its ability to connect millions of users. We wish the best of luck to the celebrities and fans who will join us in the Words With Friends Celebrity Challenge."

Players will also have the opportunity to play against their team celebrities by simply playing five or more words in any Words With Friends game during the tournament. By doing so, players will automatically be entered into the Play A Celebrity Sweepstakes.

Those who don't want to participate in the challenge can still make donations that will go to one of the charities and be in the running to win prizes like autographed items, basketballs from Paul Pierce, and signed posters.

Below are the charities that each celebrity is playing for:

Eva Longoria – The Eva Longoria Foundation – A charity that helps Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship.

Jonah Hill and Kristen Bell – Harlem Grown – A non-profit organization that partners with the NYC Parks Department, Department of Education, and food and community advocacy groups to increase the capacity of communities and students to access nature, green spaces, and healthy food.

Edward Norton and Sophia Bush – Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust – A charity that works to protect the ecosystems and biodiversity of East Africa.

John Legend The Show Me Campaign – A charity that works to fight poverty by promoting education reform, healthcare, and providing the basic tools for people to break the poverty cycle.

Snoop Lion – The Snoop Youth Football League – A non-profit organization providing inner-city children the chance to participate in youth football, teaching them the values of teamwork, good sportsmanship, discipline and self-respect.

Paul Pierce – Truth On Health – The Truth Fund helps empower young people to lead healthier lifestyles. It includes awareness campaigns and programs to help young people be physically fit.

The Words With Friends Celebrity Challenge kicks off today. Players can participate with either the free or paid versions of Words With Friends. The challenge ends October 3rd, with the Sweepstakes winner announced October 4th. Donations can be made here.

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