Building online communities that are healthy, inclusive, and allow people to be their authentic selves online is one of Riot’s core goals. It’s a complicated challenge and one we know we can’t do alone. That’s the inspiration behind our recent partnership with Ubisoft, our commitment to the Fair Play Alliance (FPA), and the Designing for Digital Thriving Challenge with IDEO.
Back in October, Riot, IDEO, the FPA, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop put out a call for proposals, frameworks, and tools that can help digital spaces continue to evolve in healthy ways.
The response was incredible. In all, we received 179 proposals from around the world. A committee of subject matter experts from across tech, gaming, design, and education came together as judges of the submissions. They looked at every submission to make sure it is relevant, actionable, accessible, equitable, impactful, and creative.
Today we are announcing the ten winners who will each receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 with the aim of making their idea become a reality.
The Winners of the Designing for Digital Thriving Contest
Global Nomads Group Content Creation Lab - $50,000
The Global Nomads Group Content Creation Lab (CCL) uses a “for youth, by youth” approach to digital program and content design. Their mission is to center youth voices and lived experiences, particularly those of marginalized youth, in digital learning content that increases empathy, perspective-taking, belonging, and action orientation. Since 2020, youth from 40 countries have contributed to the group. The group will use the grant money to scale up the CCL bringing on more youth interns and providing stipends to staff who are putting in the work to train and coach interns in the program.
Fostering Digital Wellness Through Education and Empowerment - $50,000
Submitted by the Digital Wellness Institute, this submission is focused on addressing the impact of screen time on mental health. The group is dedicated to creating tools, teaching educators, empowering organizations, and inspiring others with best practices on this front. Their goal is to educate 150 million people in digital wellness skills over the next five years. With 350 certified educators in 32 countries, the grant money will be used to continue to scale up the program and its reach over the coming years.
Plot Twisters: Online Game World for Nurturing Self-Reflection and Emotional Literacy - $50,000
This co-design collective of 22 designers, researchers, artists, and technologists has been hard at work creating Plot Twisters, an immersive online game for nurturing emotional literacy, personal narrative building, and self-advocacy skills in young people. The group intends to use the money to compensate volunteers who work on the project and to fund the creation of Plot Twisters’ Minimum Viable Product or MVP, a crucial step in the design of any new game.
Take Another Perspective: A Character-Playing Simulation - $10,000
This simulation allows students to gain new perspectives through the voices of diverse characters. The goal is to use character play to put students in the mindset of important characters throughout history and provide a safe and inventive space to have conversations across differences. They will be using the grant money to invest in the technical development of the Take Another Perspective Software.
Transform Youth Mental Health Through Innovative Peer Support - $10,000
Throughout the pandemic, anxiety, and depression in youth, especially in marginalized communities, is on the rise. That led to the creation of Uplift, a peer-run digital summit that equips young people with the tools they need to cope with their mental health and help their friends do the same. The grant money will be used to advertise Uplift to bring more young people into the free summit.
Tilli's Digital Safety Magic Box | Playful Learning for Kids and Caregivers - $10,000
Tilli is a play-based, social-emotional learning tool that brings together the joy of play and the power of behavioral science to help kids and their caregivers build foundational, lifelong skills and mindsets to be safe, confident, and happy within the digital spaces they occupy. The grant money will be used to help cover design and development costs.
Tempok: A Coming of Age Ritual for Digital Life - $5,000
Tempok is all about the moment when a smartphone enters a child's life for the first time. It’s a huge moment for kids and an anxiety-inducing one for caregivers. Tempok reimagines the process of gifting that first phone through the lenses of trust, growth, community, and responsibility. The grant money will be used to help fund further user research and create working prototypes.
JOTLANDIA: Collaborative Storytelling for Kids and Adults - $5,000
JOTLANDIA is a digital platform for telling collaborative stories in the real world. It’s like a multiplayer choose-your-own-adventure game with both children and adults in mind to facilitate intergenerational play. The grant money will be used to continue to accelerate the development of JOTLANDIA.
Deep Data Detectives (D3) Adventures - $5,000
Created by nonprofit Nxt Wave Founders, the D3 Project is aimed at empowering underrepresented voices in the fight against climate change using data science education. The grant money will be used to help invest in staff who will continue to bring more education and opportunities in the fight against climate change.
Gamifying Digital Literacy for Older Adults to Increase Autonomy - $5,000
Ask Mabel is a playful SMS-based subscription service that sends bite-sized lessons to older adults who wish to learn the basics about online technology. It is designed for low-income seniors to help them navigate the complexities of an online world. The grant money will help fund outreach to bring more seniors to use the service.
Designing for Digital Thriving Project
The (FPA) and Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop are working together on the Designing for Digital Thriving project. With a long-term goal of making it easy for anyone to design online spaces that help individuals, groups, and communities truly thrive in today’s connected world, the project aligns closely with Riot’s values. To make designing easier, the organizations are working with a growing list of contributors to create and foster a collection of well-founded, promising and proven approaches toward the development of a playbook for digital thriving, which the Riot Games Social Impact Fund is supporting.