League of Legends Publisher Riot Games has said it will invest $ 10 million in founders who are underrepresented minorities in the video game community.
And through Riot Games ” Social impact fund, the company will commit $ 1 million in contributions to the Innocence Project and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The announcements follow the tweets he made on Sunday and Monday.
The Los Angeles-based company is also establishing a new partnership with Florida A&M and funding scholarships through the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. Riot said he would continue to invest in various educational programs such as Girls Who Code, Urban TxT, Reboot Representation and Code2040.
Other game companies have also made donations. Zynga announced a million dollars in donations to the ACLU Foundation; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Northside Achievement Zone (an organization that pursues success in schools for children of color); and Race Forward (dedicated to supporting and strengthening local community organizations led by blacks). ; Electronic arts also donated $ 1 million to the Equal Justice initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
In one letter To Riot Games employees, President Dylan Jadeja said it was “a very emotional and difficult time.” He said that “the murder of another unarmed black man has sparked a national outcry for justice, not only for George Floyd, but for countless other members of the black community who die at the hands of a system to which they are supposed to be able to trust. . “
He said that systemic racism is not new, but complacency has contributed to slower progress than necessary to drive lasting change. Riot, he said, has a role to play.
Here is Jadeja’s full message:
I want to start by saying thank you to everyone for the compassion and understanding that I have seen among everyone during this very moving and difficult time.
The murder of another unarmed black man sparked a national outcry for justice, not only for George Floyd, but for countless other members of the black community who die at the hands of a system they are supposed to trust . Systemic racism is not a new problem, but we must recognize that complacency has contributed to slower progress than is necessary to drive lasting change. Like many other companies with the capacity and responsibility to accelerate progress and make it happen, we have a role to play and it is up to us to do more.
This week, we have taken the time to look inside, to reflect and to reflect on how Riot can really help to combat racism and injustice. After all, real change begins at home. We have long been committed to fighting this in our games, but we realized that it was not enough. As we indicated earlier this week, our efforts will focus on the areas that we believe require special attention and in which we can have an impact, including justice reform, investment in owned businesses. to minorities, the creation of opportunities for minorities in our industry, continuing education and the resolution of prejudice and discrimination in the workforce.
Partnership for change
Through our Social Impact Fund, we are committing $ 1 million to progress in these priority areas, starting with an initial contribution to the Innocence project and to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). These contributions are in addition to our matching donation program where we match up to $ 1,000 per employee for eligible donations to these organizations and others. Riot Noir (our resource group for black employees) provided some great suggestions. We therefore encourage all employees to use this program and to donate to these causes.
We have a platform at Riot Games not only to contribute to great causes, but to create great opportunities; opportunities that can truly change lives. This includes providing the necessary access to capital and resources, as economic growth can be a powerful equalizer.
Thanks to our corporate development team, we support and invest in game-related activities led by passionate players who share our goal of improving player quality. We are proud of our history of working with founders from diverse backgrounds and will continue to do so with a new program aimed at deploying $ 10 million towards investments and start-up programs focused on founders underrepresented in the community of games.
Providing opportunities for those who otherwise would not have access means ensuring that we support and defend the growth of minorities in the gaming and technology industries. We believe that the most significant way to stimulate this growth is to invest our resources in creating a future pipeline for the entire world of gaming and technology. We are partnering with Florida A&M University to support the development of a curriculum to prepare future software engineers who wish to pursue a career in gaming. We are also launching a $ 50,000 scholarship through the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund to support black students interested in game development. And of course, we continue our investment in various educational programs such as Girls Who Code, Urban TxT, Reboot Representation and Code2040.
Focus tirelessly inward, together
To make progress against prejudice and hatred a reality, we need to have honest and difficult conversations in our households, classrooms and workplaces. We know that race is a difficult subject to talk about, but not talking about it may imply that it is not a problem. On the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves (Juneteenth), we will organize a day of conversation about the race so that we can all get comfortable talking about an uncomfortable problem. We also know there is fear in talking about race, so we will offer secure space sessions where honest and vulnerable conversations can take place around the world without trial.
One of our greatest resources we have is the passion and time of our incredible team. Nothing at Riot happens without all of you. It is through a combination of passionate Rioters around the world as well as our leadership position in one of the fastest growing entertainment and technology spaces that we believe to have the greatest impact. long term. We will continue to mobilize our passion and commitment to help local communities around the world, but also to engage in the honest conversations and education we need to be better warriors against hate.
I am sure this is a question that many of you have asked yourself. The problems we face right now are not new, but this moment has unfortunately reminded us that the disease of racism persists in this country. It challenged us to look inward and ask ourselves, “Are we doing enough to create the change we need?” And the reality is that we know we can and should do more. Therefore we are going. Our maturation as a company has shown us that our voice and our commitment in these spaces mean a lot to employees and players. And progress is a lifelong commitment that must continue well beyond when media coverage slows down and protests stop.
Voices on the streets are asking for more. They deserve more. Black communities across the country deserve more. With love, empathy and a long-term collective commitment to change, we will do our part to help keep the promise of a world free of racism.