Pokemon Go Studio Announces Black Lives Matter Donations, Company Initiatives
Niantic has announced millions in monetary donations and a broad policy of diversity training and volunteer initiatives in response to racial justice protests.
Niantic, the company behind ARG mobile hits like Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, has announced a broad set of company plans aimed at racial justice reforms, in light of ongoing protests over policing in America. The letter from CEO John Hanke outlines millions in donations and paid time off for employees to volunteer.
Hanke says the company will be donating a minimum of $5 million in proceeds from Pokemon Go Fest 2020 ticket sales. Half of that will go towards funding new projects from black creators to make more diverse content, while the other half will go towards US nonprofits. In addition, it will donate $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and matching employee contributions up to $50,000.
The note also states that Niantic employees currently get four days per year to attend in-game events. Going forward, the company will add a fifth day and turn them all into Flex Days, allowing Niantic employees to use those days to volunteer in their communities.
We stand with the Black community & against white supremacy, racism, & police brutality & condemn the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop & countless others. Here's how we’re committing to change #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/jfYGinhl2e pic.twitter.com/Y0P3f1E2PQ— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) June 3, 2020
In addition to those monetary and volunteer donations, the company is committing to new Diversity & Inclusion training with a focus on allyship. It will also be expanding its commitments to organizations like Treehouse and Gameheads, which focus on diversifying tech and teaching kids to develop games, respectively.
These initiatives are similar to ones announced by Electronic Arts following widespread protests regarding police brutality and racial justice. Several other companies have offered statements of support, and many games industry events and announcements planned for this week have been delayed out of respect for the protests.
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