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ESA Foundation raises USD 1 million at Nite To Unite event

The ESA Foundation, a long established games industry charity organisation has raised USD 1 million through its online auction and annual black-tie dinner evening

The ESA Foundation, a long established games industry charity organisation which benefits a wide range of children's causes, has raised $1 million through its online auction and annual black-tie dinner evening, the Nite to Unite for Kids.

2005's Nite to Unite charity dinner, held recently at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, attracted a record 920 guests including top industry executives such as SCEA's Kaz Hirai, Microsoft's Robbie Bach and EA's Larry Probst, among many others.

Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association said: "We are so gratified that members of the game community helped us set a new fundraising and attendance record at this year's event. This generous outpouring only serves to strengthen the industry's continuing commitment to help America's children, and will allow us to make a real difference in the lives of many."

The dinner was complimented by an online charity auction through ebay, in which industry related memorabilia, unique marketing and promotional items and items signed by renowned developers and publishers were sold.

All proceeds from the auction and dinner event will go to the ESA Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that will make a difference in the quality of life, health and welfare of America's youth. Since its inception in 2000, the ESA Foundation has raised over USD 6.7 million.

Each year, the Nite To Unite dinner honours an individual or company who provided outstanding services and contributions to the development and growth of the games industry, with the presentation of the ESA Champion Award. This year, George Lucas picked up the award and offered a few comments about what prompted him to start a games division (LucasArts) some 25 years ago.

"I got into the business because I had a deep interest in educational software. I wanted to start a game company to fund the educational division," Lucas stated. The legendary Star Wars filmmaker founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation in 1991 to enable children to learn about creating digital entertainment and bring much needed technology into the education system.

Earlier this month, the ESA Foundation was in the headlines after the creators of satirical web-comic Penny-Arcade, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, donated $10,000 to the charity in place of Florida attorney and anti-videogames campaigner Jack Thompson, who had reneged on a pledge to donate money to charity if someone would make a violent videogame which he proposed.

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Paul Loughrey

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