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Play a Game for a Good Cause

Post date: 
November 17th, 2016
Article Type: 
AGM Blog Post
Article Topic: 

Life. Risk. Monopoly.

Which path do I take for a "better" (aka, more financially lucrative) future? How can I mastermind global domination? Can I force my opponent into bankruptcy? Yikes. Kind of a harsh approach to game play. Where is the childhood game that is centered on building a more just and equitable society? Instead of roll your dice, move your mice, make someone else suffer, how about rewarding a life of charitable service (beyond just the reward you get in the Game of Life for helping the homeless, if you are lucky enough to land on that space)?

Sorry! A game about negating other players' moves. Trouble, a variation on Sorry! Clue, let's focus on murder! Etc. etc. etc. At least the politically incorrect game Cards Against Humanity seems to have a history of charity. Special editions of the game were intentionally issued to raise money for educational needs (distributed via Donors Choose) and for scholarships for women pursuing a career in STEM fields. 

Look, I'm a fan of these games - I have fond memories as a kid playing many board games that probably had few socially redeeming qualities. Thanks to parenting that instilled good values, I could conquer the world or make my brother go bankrupt, but do so graciously. But during a recent AGM staff brown bag lunch (where we usually discuss an article or recent newsworthy item or activity related to philanthropy - but in this instance, we were celebrating one of our colleagues at AGM who is moving out of state and who happened to be a big fan of board games). So we played a board game -- which called into question my whole perspective on board games. The game-playing prompted me to think more deeply about the influence games have on us and how games intersect with philanthropy. Turns out, not so much of the latter.

So what is my point? I guess I'm advocating that the next board game you play, in addition to proving you know more trivia than the next person (Trivial Pursuit) or demonstrating your luck with dice (Yahtzee!), perhaps you might pause and think about where you can impart some of your wisdom about being charitable, working in service for the greater good, or making a correlation between real life and Life. Fun times with your family, friends, and neighbors and philanthropy! 

In the meantime, for the lamest segue on record, I'm going to ask you to play a game now. Think of a number between one and five thousand. Got it? Okay, now double it. Now go over to your check book or find your wallet. Remember, you are thinking about the number AND also about charitable service. In doing so, I'm asking you to consider supporting Associated Grant Makers' annual fund campaign. As a small nonprofit organization, Membership support at AGM covers only 60% of our annual operating budget, so we rely on many selfless acts of charity to make up the difference. Consider a gift of $25, $250 or $2,500 (and remember, then double it, see instructions above). I joke. Sort of. Any amount you are able to contribute is meaningful.

Think about the next game of Monopoly you play, and how you'd like to set aside some of  your bankroll for charity. Or perhaps one of the spaces you land on in Life, pretend it says "give X to one of your favorite charities". Or maybe you play the word "charity" in Scrabble and earn 50 extra points (7-letter word!), but instead of taking the 50 points, you convert it to dollars and send to a charity, like, say, AGM? Then you turn to your kids, your friends, your neighbors and say "teachable moment" as you explain how your game incorporated philanthropy (while still conquering the world, of course). Then let me know who wins!

Enjoy your game playing, and thank you for thinking about AGM.


Jeff Poulos, Chief Executive Officer

617.426.2606 x113



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