Today, The AbleGamers Charity COO Steven Spohn announced the completion of the first iteration of the community-driven SpawnTogether initiative. Steven, along with a fiercely supportive community and a variety of fundraising champions, met the $1 million goal today, just short of a year since kicking off the program.
At its core, SpawnTogether is a show of true vision validation from the videogame community that disabled gamers are seen, supported, and celebrated. Steven’s sentiment behind the $1 million goal is that the lofty sum will be able to carry AbleGamers into the future, ensuring its ability to help disabled gamers around the world receive much-needed equipment and consultation, even without his help.
“I am absolutely floored by the outpouring of love and support. When I set out on this journey, I thought we would raise a few thousand dollars,” said Steven Spohn, COO, The AbleGamers Charity. “I massively underestimated the groundswell of support this amazing community has for things that matter to them the most. Finally, we are at a point where people truly believe everyone should be able to play.”
AbleGamers has a lot of people to help — the organization estimates that over 56 million people in America alone are in need of assistive equipment to help put an end to isolation, especially in these trying times. Steven’s goal is to help all of them, one day, through the power of the experts at AbleGamers and the many contracted engineers, researchers, peer counselors, and developers that make the charity so effective.
Steven added, “I learned a lot from the community while raising the million dollars. People believe in the mission of AbleGamers and the importance of supporting disabled gamers. That’s why I am going to turn this into an annual event – trying to raise $1 million every year. And I’m not doing this alone. I’m bringing some of my most trusted friends who can keep this going even after SMA finally gets me. When that happens, I don’t want people to mourn and be sad; I want them to celebrate and keep supporting people with disabilities for decades to come!”
From the beginning, Steven went full throttle with SpawnTogether when he announced the initiative on his 40th birthday in September 2020 — a birthday that doctors had told him would never come. Over $300,000 was raised within the first week. Throughout the 11-month period, a host of fundraising events, streams, and influencer and celebrity support assisted in elevating awareness, and as a result, the funds were raised. Last November, streaming platform Twitch announced that it would match donations for streamers participating in the fundraising activity, majorly kicking things into high gear. Media company Red Ventures, through GameSpot, donated over $115,000 to the cause, pushing the movement well past the halfway mark. Even Stanley Cup-winning NHL team the Pittsburgh Penguins assisted with extensive PR support, resulting in an even broader reach outside of the video game community.
A special thanks must be given to the personalities and brands who rallied their communities to make a serious dent in the SpawnTogether goal. Such talents include Twitch creators negaoryx, lilsimsie, and Bloodyfaster, streamer and actress Felicia Day, What’s Good Games media company, Logitech G, Alanah Pearce, Kinda Funny, The Escapist, and many, many more.
The outpouring of support was felt throughout the games industry and beyond, and it is only through this kind of community connection that such a feat can be accomplished. It has not been without its challenges, but Steven urges friends and supporters of the cause to keep fundraising and making noise about this important issue. Through donations and support, AbleGamers can put assistive technology into the hands of disabled gamers and those requiring special accommodations, ultimately breaking down the barriers of social isolation and enabling play for all.
Kerri is a disabled assistant editor and news writer for BWT. She is motivated by her love of words, commas, comics, and all things geeky