Kelowna, BC – Two-and-a-half million Club Penguin players embraced the spirit of the season and displayed their passion for helping others this holiday by participating in a unique online giving opportunity that let them donate virtual coins to support real world causes.
The second annual Coins for Change campaign, which ran from Dec. 12, 2008 through Dec. 22, 2008, encouraged the kids who play Club Penguin to donate the coins they earn playing games within the popular virtual world in support of causes dedicated to helping children.
At the end of the campaign, players had donated three billion virtual coins. The virtual donations served as votes which were tallied for New Horizon Foundation, an organization started by the founders of Club Penguin, to help it determine how to allocate $1 million amongst charities dedicated to helping children. New Horizon Foundation has selected the following charities to receive a portion of its donation:
* Partners in the Horn of Africa will receive $30,000 to support education, play therapy, and structured activity programs for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.
* War Child will receive $340,000 to support education, children’s rights and poverty reduction for children affected by war in Georgia, Afghanistan and Northern Uganda.
* Partners In Health will receive $300,000 to help provide medical care to children in Haiti and Rwanda.
* Free The Children will receive $330,000 to help communities in India, Ecuador and rural China build schools and provide education to children who are poor and can’t attend school.
“The children who play Club Penguin often ask us for ideas on how they can give back and make the world a better place but we still never could have imagined when we launched Coins for Change we’d get this kind of response,” says Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin and executive vice president and general manager of Disney Online Studios. “It’s absolutely incredible to witness how our players jumped on board for the chance to help make a difference in the lives of kids throughout the world.”
Club Penguin was so impressed by its players’ enthusiastic response to the Coins for Change campaign, the company announced it will contribute $500,000 to support charitable initiatives in the regions where Club Penguin maintains international operations.
“In these uncertain economic times, organizations working so hard to improve the lives of others can be particularly hard hit. We felt this would be a great time to step up and help fill that void through our local teams around the world,” says Merrifield.
As a result of the inaugural Coins for Change campaign in 2007, New Horizon Foundation donated $394,000 to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, $330,000 to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and $276,000 to Free The Children.
Club Penguin is a snow-covered virtual world where children can play games and hang out with friends. It has developed a reputation as a trusted provider of safe family fun due to its rich, imaginative play environment, filtering technology and live moderators.