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Nite to Unite event brings in $822,000 for ESA Foundation

gaming industry unites to help the ESA Foundation

Dean Takahashi via Electronic Arts
Dean Takahashi via Electronic Arts
Dean Takahashi via Electronic Arts
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The 15th annual Nite to Unite - For Kids gala raised $822,000 for the ESA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Entertainment Software Association, the event's organizers announced today.

The black-tie event, which took place last week in San Francisco, brought together industry luminaries and representatives from a variety of notable companies, including co-chairs Capcom USA president and CEO Kazuhiko Abe; Disney Interactive Entertainment co-president John Pleasants; and Warner Bros. Home Entertaiment Group president Kevin Tsujihara.

Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell was highlighted at Nite to Unite as the 2012 ESA Champion Honoree, a distinction previously given to such industry leaders as Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment president and CEO, and George Lucas.

The ESA Foundation has now raised more than $12 million since its inception in 2000 for scholarships and charity. The organization lists ten causes as its 2013 beneficiaries:

  • Federation of American Scientists, which will distribute a game to enhance high school level science instruction and deepen students’ understanding of biology.
  • George Mason University Foundation, which will provide underserved middle and high school students with the chance to participate in after-school game design classes.
  • HopeLab Foundation, which will use technology and video games to improve the health of youth, especially those with cancer.
  • Lewis and Clark Foundation, which will support the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, focusing on education and children's programs.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, which will develop and implement interactive games to teach students about lawmaking and democracy.
  • Parents' Choice Foundation, which will develop a resource for parents, educators and healthcare professionals that will provide uniform testing, certification and identification of digital games for children of all abilities, including those with special needs.
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, which opened "The Art of Video Games" exhibition this year highlighting the 40-year evolution of video games, will provide electronic resources to schools and the public.
  • ThanksUSA, a non-partisan charitable organization, which will provide scholarships and education resources to the children of those serving in the U.S. armed forces.
  • University of Texas at Austin, which will support an immersive science learning program for middle school students, developed by its College of Education.
  • World Wide Workshop Foundation, which will harness the potential of computer games to improve learning, leadership and livelihood skills of underserved children and youth.

The ESA Foundation is also partnering with Children's Miracle Network hospitals in North America for the Extra Life fundraising drive, which has raised more than $2 million since 2008 for children in need of medical care.

"Nite to Unite's success is due to the video game industry's generosity, leadership and commitment to children," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. The ESA is a trade body that represents the video game industry, runs the E3 convention and established the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

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