The U.S. computer and video game industry raised more than $850,000 to benefit America's children last week at the ESA Foundation's annual "Nite to Unite - For Kids" benefit dinner held in San Francisco and through an online public auction held in conjunction with eBay.
"This is an event we look forward to each year as our industry comes together to support America’s children," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "While people of all ages now play games, our industry owes its initial success to kids and “Nite to Unite” gives us an opportunity to support the charities and programs that will secure and improve their futures."
Attendees of last night's dinner bid on a variety of items that ranged from autographed memorabilia, wine and trips to France. This year, the funds raised by the ESA Foundation will benefit the Starbright Foundation, WAVE, the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Web Wise Kids.
Jeff Griffiths, President and CEO of Electronic Boutiques Holding Corp., was honored with the ESA's Champion Award, given annually to a member of the interactive entertainment industry in recognition of outstanding service and contributions to the industry. Griffiths’ vision and commitment have helped build Electronics Boutique into one of the most successful global specialty retail chains in the business. In turn, Electronics Boutique’s innovations have helped foster electronic gaming as a way of life for millions of consumers, paving the way for the growth of the entire interactive entertainment industry.
This year's "Nite to Unite" dinner was co-chaired by: Laurent Detoc, President, Ubi Soft Entertainment Inc.; Rob Dyer, President, Eidos Interactive; and Jacqualee Story, Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, Nintendo of America, Inc.
Following is brief background on the dinner beneficiaries.
- Web Wise Kids - WWK uses a computer game to teach children about Internet safety and luring. This will be the third year the ESA Foundation has supported Web Wise Kids. For more information see http://www.webwisekids.org.
- WAVE -WAVE programs help children who have or are thinking of dropping out of school. The programs seek to train dropouts for the work force and provide GED tutoring and an alternative school classroom atmosphere and support services to discourage potential drop outs. Additional information can be found at http://www.waveinc.org.
- The STARBRIGHT Foundation - Starbright is dedicated to the development of projects that empower seriously ill children to combat the medical and emotional challenges they face on a daily basis. ESA Foundation funds will support the Webisodes project which assists youths (aged 12-17) in coping with cancer and chemotherapy. Additional information can be found at http://www.starbright.org.
- The Starlight Children’s Foundation – The Starlight Children’s Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. ESA Foundation funds will be supporting the Starlight Teen program which seeks to provide seriously ill teenagers, who are unable to participate in typical teen activities due to their illness, opportunities to interact with peers through social activities. Additional information can be found at: http://www.starlight.org.
The ESA Foundation was created by the American interactive entertainment software industry to support and provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America’s youth. The Foundation is fully supported by proceeds from “A Nite to Unite—for Kids,” its annual fund-raiser that has raised more than more than $6.4 million in the last five years. The Foundation has provided grants to support: Web Wise Kids; Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Delinquency Prevention Initiative - Year three; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Just Think Foundation; YouthVision Challenge; Mothers Against Violence in America's Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) project; and the expansion of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland Computer Learning Center. The event also has become one of the most anticipated events in the industry. The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.