Happy New Year from the IGDA Foundation!
2015 was a fantastic year for the Foundation. Our reach as an organization grew immensely over the year due to the incredible support we received from Intel, contributions from developers through inclusion in Humble Bundles, and an increase in the already generous in-kind contributions we receive from GDC, without which we would not be able to run most of our event scholarship programs. We’re incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished in the past year, and we would love to take a moment to recognize some of this year’s highlights.
2015 saw our 14th year of the IGDA Scholars. In addition to an already-robust scholarship program providing the best and brightest young talent with passes to events such as GDC, GDC Europe and Gamescom, 1-on-1 industry mentorship, studio tours, and Q & A sessions with industry greats, this year our partnership with Intel allowed us to extend the program to include travel bursaries, opening the program for the first time to a wider range of students. For many of us who volunteer for the Foundation, this is the highlight of our work, and this program continues to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Molly Proffitt and her dedicated team, which is actually comprised entirely of alumni of the program!
This year also saw the creation of what we now refer to as the Women in Games Ambassadors Program (formerly known as Intel Scholars), which allowed 29 additional students to attend GDC with All-Access Passes, and offered admission to exclusive networking events and private Q & A sessions with industry members. Although taking a different focus from the IGDA Scholars, Cat Wendt and her team of volunteers, with support from Intel’s Kip Silverman, were able to capture a lot of the magic to create a remarkable experience for these women that surpassed our expectations.
In addition to our student scholarships, this year we were able to expand several IGDA Foundation and IGDA initiatives, and promote several events and organizations aimed at fostering diversity within the industry.
The IGDA’s Developer Satisfaction Survey is an annual assessment designed to take stock of who we are as an industry and the issues that face us. In recent years, the survey has also incorporated demographic information that helps illuminate areas that need additional outreach and attention. This year, the Foundation helped support that initiative in an effort to spotlight the diversity issues facing developers and the perception of these issues within the industry.
We provided crucial support to the IGDA Leadership Summit, a new event aimed at cultivating the next generation of leaders within the games industry. The event was a great success, with excellent sessions from a number of established industry leaders, an exceptionally diverse set of speakers, and session recordings for dissemination to the general development community.
In 2014, we supported the first “Localization Jam” or LocJam, an event aimed at providing a game jam style environment for game localization specialists. After the resounding success of the first LocJam with participation from around the globe, we were delighted to support LocJam in its second year, as the event specifically promotes inclusivity through broader reach of games across cultures and languages.
In May, we provided funding to the UC Santa Cruz Native Game Development Workshop, an exceptionally high quality one-day event that featured some of the top Native American talent from across the US. Racial diversity in the games industry is a critical component of the broader diversity conversation, and we’re excited to see this first step toward celebration and awareness of games in Native American culture.
We were also proud to support the Pixelles group, a Montreal-based grassroots organization supporting its local community with an emphasis on women in games. We were able to help Pixelles expand their online presence and provide a “Community Tool Chest” of computers, software, and equipment to broaden access to their workshops and game jams. Pixelles is doing fantastic work, and we hope to continue our relationship with them in the New Year.
Finally, this year we offered community grants to several of the IGDA sub-groups. We were able to help IGDA Chicago reach a broader audience by funding a grant for recording equipment, help IGDA Scotland cover venue costs for meetings in one of Scotland’s major game development hubs, and help IGDA New Hampshire publicly showcase their games by funding the construction of an arcade cabinet that will be displayed at various events. We’re committed to serving the IGDA’s mission to support the professional development of game developers, and hope to offer even more community grants in 2016!
Amidst all this good work we were also delighted to welcome three new members to the IGDA Foundation Board of Trustees: Kathy Astromoff (VP of Developer Success at Twitch), Jen Maclean (President, Kids & Games at Family Education Network) and Sheri Graner Ray (Founder at Zombie Cat Studios). We also bid farewell to one of the original founders of the Foundation, as Tom Buscaglia stood down after 8 years of service, 7 of those as Chair. We’ve welcomed numerous new volunteers into the organization, filling key gaps and helping us with this year of phenomenal growth.
With a resoundingly successful year behind us, the IGDA Foundation is excited to announce the renewal of our relationship with Intel for 2016. Much of our work this year would not have been possible without their support, and we are immensely grateful to them for their strong commitment to gender parity in tech and game development. Intel’s funding has already helped countless talented developers jump-start their careers in 2015 and we cannot wait to have an even greater impact together in 2016. We are also immeasurably grateful to GDC for their support throughout the years, and for growing that support as our capacity to do good work for the community has grown.
Foundation volunteers are already hard at work preparing for all of the exciting initiatives we have planned in 2016. Watch this space for more information on these programs, or follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter) to make sure you never miss an announcement. We’re actively looking for great initiatives to support. If you have a project that you think aligns with our mission learn more about our grant funding process.
Thank you for your continued support; we can’t wait for 2016!