Videogame advocacy

Ian Bogost looks at the use of videogames for politics, advocacy, and activism in a wonderful essay on First Monday. There is a whole movement out there, called Serious Games, that is trying to foster "non-entertainment" games. And they're not just for kids anymore! Games for Change is the go-to place for more information on the positive use of this omnipresent media.

The MacArthur Foundation is putting tens of millions of dollars into digital media and learning, including games. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a big supporter of Games for Health. Any other foundations out there funding serious games or using them as tools for outreach, advocacy, engagement, learning, etc....? Curious minds want to know - please send me info.


Sandra Dickinson said...

My latest greatest passion is nonprofit social entrepreneurs making an elearning game together that will solve the mystery of earned income profitability. I believe the strategic meta-patterns that lead to earned income profitability are hidden in our collective experience. All we need is a way to get at them.

I recently launched a wiki and a blog to this end ( and

I actually have a Poll set up to see if anybody else thinks this is a good idea. You can take the Poll, explore the wiki and blog.... please tell me what YOU think.


Susan said...

Hi Lucy -- thanks for this post. In the spirit of small worlds, I used to work with the Nonprofit Sector & Philanthropy Project at the Aspen Institute and now am in charge of communications for the Pioneer Portfolio, the area within the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that funds Games for Health.

A couple of notable things -- Games for Health and RWJF are currently running a competition to encourage more game developers, health organizations, other nonprofits and like-minded individuals to submit concepts for video and computer game applications in the health and health care space. More info. is at We hope to stimulate some great ideas that can add to this dynamic and rapidly growing field. Please share this opportunity with appropriate audiences!

Also, the Pioneer Portfolio at RWJF has launched a blog on innovative ideas that have the potential to trigger breakthrough improvements in health and health care ( It's pretty wide in its scope, and covers social entrepreneurship, new philanthropic models and ways to source ideas, and other out-of-the-box approaches to shaping the future of health and health care. We hope you and your readers will check it out.

Thanks so much -- your blog is great and I look forward to seeing new posts.

Susan Krutt

Lucy Bernholz said...

Point of clarification: Serious Games does a lot of work with the military and business. The games they support are "non entertainment" games, but not necessarily pro social change.