Girlstart and FlowPlay Team Up to Drive Gaming-Based Donations that Support STEM Education for Girls
FlowPlay Partnership Marks Girlstart's First In-Game Fundraiser; Fuels Seattle-Area Summer Camp and Other National Programs
SEATTLE and AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 10, 2014 -- FlowPlay, a leader in virtual world games and technology, today announced its partnership with Girlstart, a nonprofit that inspires girls interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs. As Girlstart's first-ever in-game fundraising campaign, beginning now through Jan. 5, FlowPlay's ourWorld or Vegas World players can raise money for Girlstart STEM programs by purchasing uniquely branded Girlstart virtual goods. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Girlstart programs nationwide, including the entire funding of a Girlstart summer camp, taking place in Bellevue, Wash. in Summer 2015.
The U.S. faces a critical shortage of skilled STEM workers, and an even larger deficit of women in STEM. While more women than men enroll in college, women earn only 31% of total STEM degrees, only one in seven engineering degrees, and only 18% of computer science degrees. Furthermore, women hold only 24% of the nation's STEM jobs. Girlstart programs engage girls in STEM education, empower them to continue these studies, and inspire them to pursue STEM careers, to ultimately help address workforce inequities, impact innovation, and build bright futures for girls and their families.
FlowPlay and Girlstart share a common focus on increasing girls interest in technology, a cause that has been traditionally underserved – particularly amongst the gaming community – and one that was an early motivator for FlowPlay's flagship game. Currently, ourWorld boasts more than 800,000 active users, a majority of which are females (65%) under the age of 18 (80%).
Through Jan. 5, ourWorld players can use their in-world virtual currency, Gems, to purchase a 'Rocket Science Girl,' which will accompany their avatar throughout the game and enable them to gain Flow 100% faster, an aspect of the game that allows players to level-up and boost their in-game experience. Every purchase of the 'Rocket Science Girl' equates to a $5 donation to Girlstart. Players in FlowPlay's social casino title, Vegas World, can also contribute through purchases of a Rocket Ship Charm, which will provide a $0.50 donation to Girlstart.
"Like Girlstart, FlowPlay and its games meet girls where they are, by connecting their interests in technology with their social activities," said Julie Shannan, deputy director at Girlstart. "Part of our philosophy is that girls can be true to who they are and pursue STEM interests, and ourWorld provides an environment that fosters that same passion for individuality and technology. Our partnership with FlowPlay signifies our very first in-game fundraising effort, making this campaign a huge milestone for our technology-centric organization."
"We wanted to support an organization that is addressing a cause deeply rooted in the genesis of our company and core audience, and one for which we can really make an impact," said Derrick Morton, CEO of FlowPlay. "Girlstart is highly active, with programs that actually make a difference for elementary and middle-school aged girls. With this in-game donations campaign, ourWorld users have the opportunity to move the needle with an organization they can relate to, and see the tangible impact of their contributions."
All proceeds will support Girlstart programs nationwide, with a special emphasis on Girlstart STEM summer camps. In 2013, the Girlstart Summer Camp program was recognized by Change the Equation as one of four "exemplary" and "highly scalable" innovative STEM education programs in the United States. Girlstart summer camps are weeklong learning experiences in STEM that introduce 4th-8th grade girls to the fun of STEM through innovative hands-on learning challenges.
Since 2011, Girlstart has provided free summer camp programming to high-need girls in Bellevue, Wash., but the organization is continually seeking financial, facilities and volunteer partners from surrounding Seattle Area businesses. Thanks to FlowPlay's contributions, Girlstart will bring this award-winning weeklong camp back to the Bellevue community in Summer 2015.
For more information about Girlstart's programs, visit www.girlstart.org.
FlowPlay, a developer of virtual environment and game technologies, make immersive worlds and massive multiplayer games possible with no software required beyond a basic browser. FlowPlay's first consumer product, ourWorld, is played by over 35 million players and is one of the most popular teen virtual worlds. Vegas World, FlowPlay's flagship social casino MMORPG, achieves industry-leading player monetization rates. In November 2013, FlowPlay introduced its social casino white-label platform, allowing businesses from any industry to quickly and easily bring their own uniquely branded social casino games to market. FlowPlay was founded in 2006 and is primarily funded by Intel Capital and the creators of Skype. For more information on FlowPlay, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in Austin, Texas, Girlstart is the largest and longest-running community-based informal STEM education nonprofit in the nation specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping girls in STEM through year-round STEM educational programming. Since 1997, Girlstart has served over 50,000 girls and 7,500 teachers and families with school-based programs, professional development for teachers, summer camps, STEM career conferences and expos, large-scale science events for families, and community STEM education outreach programs. Girlstart programs are open to girls K-16. We are focused on serving girls of diverse ethnicities, girls who live in low-income or nonurban environments, and/or are considered at-risk. For more information on Girlstart programs, volunteer opportunities, or for Girlstart activities to do at home or in the classroom, please visit http://www.girlstart.org/.