Media Impact Funders and Northern California Grantmakers held a special funder briefing at Zynga headquarters in San Francisco on games addressing science and health, related impact research, and what the future of this burgeoning field looks like for philanthropists interested in adding games to their programmatic investments.
MIF executive director Vince Stehle was joined onstage by leaders in philanthropy and gaming who shared their current projects and predictions for the future.
Ken Weber, Executive Director at Zynga.org (the company’s non-profit division) explained how he uses insight from the company’s commercial endeavors to inform his decisions in the social impact gaming space, citing Farmville’s in-game donations and the stress-busting game Nevermind as examples of innovative features and products. Richard Tate of Hopelab explained their game Re:Mission, which helps teenage cancer patients remember to take their medications through its thematic imagery and addictive gameplay. Kathy Reich of the Packard Foundation shared the success story of the Safer Sex Shuffle, and how its development was a learning experience for funder-developer relationships. Finally, Tim Olson from local public radio station KQED explained how projects such as Do Now and Colony One: Mars are expanding ideas of how subjects can be taught both in schools and for adult learners by utilizing new means of social communication.
Read about Reportero Challenge, the online game developed by POV to explore the complexities of doing journalism in violent areas of Mexico.
Be sure to read our wrap-up post about a similar event in New York for insights about gaming as a tool for learning and advocacy.