Epic Foundation launches Esports for Good charitable initiative, Ubisoft already on board

Esports For Good Epic Foundation initiative
Image credit: Epic Foundation

Epic Foundation, a global charitable foundation that raises money for nonprofits, has launched an initiative called #EsportsForGood to raise money from stakeholders in the esports industry.

The initiative, which already has three partners on board, seeks to encourage companies, players and communities in esports to donate a portion of their revenue towards charitable causes.

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Founded in 2014 by French entrepreneur Alexandre Mars, Epic Foundation funds charitable projects across the world predominantly related to children, youth and the environment.

The initiative calls for participating organisations to commit a portion of their annual revenues to the charity, either 1% of revenues or a specific annual contribution based on what is affordable for a given organisation.

The #EsportsForGood initiative launches with three partners already committed. These include game publisher Ubisoft, online media company Webedia, and esports arena firm Esports Virtual Arenas — all three have headquarters in France.

Money raised from the #EsportsForGood initiative will go towards Epic’s portfolio of nonprofits, which help disadvantaged people globally. The portfolio does not currently include any esports- or gaming-specific projects. The initiative aims to enlist the support of teams, publishers and other esports companies, but also professional players directly and esports communities at large.

Epic Foundation’s Managing Director Sarah Tirmarche told Esports Insider that the idea for #EsportsForGood started taking shape about a year ago, and was partly inspired by the cooperative nature of the esports ecosystem. While the initiative focused on France-based companies at launch, Epic aims to bring partners on board from across the global esports industry. 

“Video game players are a young community — [young] people are the ones that drive the economy of this sector, and they are very cautious about social and economic issues today. They want the video game companies that they are going to have a strong connection with to have a good connection to society,” explained Jason Mousset, Epic Foundation’s Business Development Manager for France, who organised the initiative alongside Tirmarche.

But the fundraising initiative comes amid a major industry correction in esports, colloquially dubbed the ‘esports winter’. Numerous esports companies have closed down or undergone mass layoffs throughout 2023 and 2024, as investment into the industry dries up and many companies remain unprofitable.

Tirmarche said Epic Foundation works with companies to find frictionless ways of giving that can accommodate early-stage business models. She said this offered flexibility to companies that want to give but are not yet profitable, noting that Epic also has a Pledge scheme where startups and other growing companies can pledge a percentage of future profits instead.

Epic Foundation logo
Epic Foundation was founded in 2014 and has offices in New York, Paris, London and Brussels. Image credit: Epic Foundation

Epic Foundation, which aims to bring tech-driven innovation to the charity sector, works on a no-fee basis. It does not take a cut of the donations it receives; all of the organisation’s expenses are covered by the foundation’s Board.

Its funding model will go a long way toward building trust in the industry. Esports and gaming are well-known for their charitable fundraising efforts — over $400m was raised for charities via Twitch in 2023, Esports News UK reported

But the sector has also been rocked by scandal. In just one of several recent incidents, Jacob Wolf reported that Brandfluence (previously Softgiving), a prominent for-profit fundraising intermediary in the livestreaming sector, had kept 42% of the $6.2m in charitable donations that went through its platform in 2020 and 2021.

The #EsportsForGood initiative was announced live on March 8th at Pégases, a ceremony to celebrate the French video games industry.

“You can’t wait to be fully successful to think about how you’re going to share your value,” Tirmarche concluded. “It is really important to remind our partners that we are talking about 1%, maybe less. Actually, if you feel like if you give this 1% that your business is going to go [under], maybe you have to rethink your business.”

Jake Nordland
Jake has worked at Esports Insider as a journalist and editor since early 2021. Now ESI's Media Manager, he continues to act as lead editor of print magazine The Esports Journal, and contributes his words to the website from time to time.