The Spiel Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to making the world a more playful place.
We believe play is a powerful and positive force. The more we play together, the better life can be for all involved.
We want to build a bigger game table where all are welcome.
We believe fun is a universal language that unites us all.
The Spiel Foundation is expanding!
Same mission; we’re just following many paths to a more playful world.
We’ve mapped out our vision for the Foundation right here.
And we hope you’ll want to join us. It’ll take a lot of fun-loving people to make this big, bold plan happen!
Game Bundle Program
We are expanding our bundle donation program to include lots of new organizations. We buy, prepare, and donate bundles of quality games to organizations that fit our mandate. Within the next two waves of bundles, we will have delivered a bundle to every children’s hospital and nationally accredited senior center in the country! With that in mind, we’re expanding our scope for bundles to include boys and girls clubs, shelters (women’s, homeless, etc.), halfway houses, schools, libraries, even prisons.
Along with this, we’ll be developing a network of regional volunteers who are willing to setup game sessions to teach the games we deliver.
An International Game Charity
The Spiel Foundation is an international game charity. We have already hosted our first Spielathon fundraiser in Canada and we will be doing our first event in Essen, Germany this year. We hope to deliver game bundles to organizations that fit our mandate in as many places as we are able to around the world.
The Spiel and its media network are now part of The Spiel Foundation.This means the podcasts, panels, written reviews, and films released by The Spiel fall under the Foundation’s umbrella. For 14 years, The Spiel has created and released media for free to help entertain and educate the game playing world. In all the ways that matter, The Spiel has been public radio for the game playing world. Don’t ask why, but it’s taken 14 years for us to realize that the mission of the foundation and the mission of the show are one and the same!
The Major Fun Award and The Spiel of Approval are now part of The Spiel Foundation. These awards have been in existence for a decade (or decades in the case of Major Fun). As such, our award programs are one of very few established, independent objective sources for reviews. The Foundation inherits their legacy of quality, integrity, and respect within the game industry
The DeKoven Center for Play
The biggest and most bonkers part of our expansion is this – a place for The Spiel Foundation to call home… a building. A Center for Play, named in honor of my dear friend and mentor, the preeminent writer and philosopher of play: Bernie DeKoven.
My dear friend and mentor Bernie DeKoven was a noted writer, designer, and philosopher of play and game studies. His work and understanding of play as an essential expression of our humanity paved the way for the game-filled world we enjoy today.
In the 1970s, Bernie and his wife Rocky bought a farm in Pennsylvania and opened the Games Perserve. This was, for lack of a better term, a board game commune – a playful retreat. There was a barn filled with games and room to play and wander outdoors. He led seminars with folks from all walks of life. The goal was give people the time and space to rediscover how to play, to give themselves permission to play… to show how play can be a powerful and positive force in our lives.
The playful path of Bernie’s life and philosophy inspires me to this day. We want the DeKoven Center for Play to rekindle the playful spirit of the Games Preserve and pass it on for generations to come.
We intend to purchase or lease a building in Indianapolis to serve our mission in many different capacities
The foundation will have a library of several thousand games. The building will be a permanent home to this collection. The library will be catalogued and expanded over time.Games in the library will be useable on-site and there will be a circulating collection of games for individuals to check out.
There will be space to host scheduled seminars on different ways games and play can be used as a positive force in many walks of life (for instance, seminars for teachers, showing how games can be used in the classroom). The library will serve as a valuable resource for these seminars.
Play Events / Game Conventions
There will be large space dedicated for play events and game conventions. Events may be small scale – like regular community play days or open game designer play test sessions. Conventions will be larger in scale, spanning several days of gaming.
The space will include an area dedicated to small exhibits related to the history, culture, and community of games.
The building will include space for a small media production studio to facilitate The Spiel network of programs and also broadcast seminars and events held at the center to audiences around the world.
The building will provide The Spiel Foundation with storage space for large quantities of games for our game bundle program.
We have been invited to host a Spielathon at GenCon this year at Union Station on Thursday evening from 6-midnight. There will be free play areas as well as areas to come play and donate. This is an amazing opportunity for the foundation. And we are hoping for this to be an annual event.
The foundation will have a booth at the International Spieltag in Essen, Germany this year. On day one, we will use the space to do panel recordings. On the following days, we will host small Spielathons and use the space to raise awareness about our mission.
We plan to host several Spielathons at conventions throughout the year including: Stumptown Game Summit, BixCon Away, Geekway to the West, Gaming Supernova (Canada), Big Bad Con, BGG Fall, and PAX Unplugged.We plan to develop Spielathon kits with all the instructions ready to go for anyone wanting to host a Spielathon on their own.
The Road Ahead
It is nearly impossible to contain our enthusiasm and passion for these plans! The vision is ambitious, bold (and perhaps a little crazy), but we know that it will bring a lot of good into the world. And for us Spielers, that is what makes it worth trying! We can’t do this alone. I hope our excitement is contagious and you’ll want to be a Spieler, too, as a donor, a sponsor, or a volunteer.