Call of Duty Endowment: A Worthy Charity
Video games are a few things. They are most definitely entertaining and debatably educational. They are also a frequent subject of controversy. Parents clearly recognize the entertainment value of video games. The debate on their educational nature continues (despite clear evidence supporting the fact that they are, indeed, educational). One thing nobody expects video games to be is socially conscious. I’m not a complete video game nut, but I keep up on them enough to know that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has easily been the most popular game this year, and probably the most popular of this decade. It sold 8.6 million units in its first five days of sales (VGVhartz). Some reports say it could top 14 million units by the end of the year. What people don’t seem to know about this game, and its publisher, is that Activision (COD’s publisher) has set up C.O.D.E. (Call of Duty Endowment), a charity for returning soldiers.
“According to DOL, the present unemployment rate for recently discharged veterans is an alarming 20 percent, and one out of every four veterans who do find employment earns less than $25,000 per year.” - Joseph C. Sharpe, Jr. Director, National Economic Commission American Legion, Testimony before the Committee on House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, 5/14/09
“Our mission is to create a national campaign that will assist those organizations that provide our former service members with job placement, training and educational services in their post military careers.” – C.O.D.E./About Us
To my knowledge there has not been another video game that has taken it upon itself to drive social consciousness in the same way COD is doing. Activision began the endowment with an initial 1 million dollar commitment (GameInformer Magazine) which isn’t too shabby for a video game company that would make money regardless of PR. The cynics will say the only reason C.O.D.E even exists is because the video game industry is trying to soften their image, not because they actually want to do any good. Even if that’s true, and it probably is, it doesn’t matter. Public perception is often what drives corporate charity. There’s nothing wrong with that. Who else is going to give a million dollars for such a worthy cause if not someone who has made a lot of money through business or business itself? Without the sales of COD there would be no endowment. Without the massive success of Microsoft there would be no Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is excellent PR for the video game industry. It’s also excellent news for returning soldiers.
To make a donation, nominate an organization, share a message or to read more, please visit their website: C.O.D.E.