Kamini Tiwari, Vice President of Social Impact, Humble Bundle
Since its founding in 2010, Humble Bundle has found creative ways to engage its audience around charitable initiatives at the heart of its culture.
Originally, it offered collections of games for sale – bundles – with a portion of the profits split between specified charities, content publishers, and Humble Bundle itself. Over time, it extended this model to books and software and developed new forms of donations to complement its digital store (2013), membership service (2015), and game publishing label. The company doesn’t release much financial information, but last year it announced that it had reached the milestone of raising $200 million for charity since 2010. (Watch this video for a taste of what Humble Bundle has taken care of.)
In December 2020, the company hired its first 100% social impact-focused executive: Tamini Kiwari, a decade-long veteran working on goal-driven topics at Blizzard Enterprises (now a unit of Activision Blizzard.)
David Hessekiel: How is charitable giving integrated into the Humble Bundle business model?
Tamini Kiwari: There’s a charitable component to almost everything we do, whether it’s dedicating a portion of sales and subscription proceeds to select charities, or providing employees with service rewards that include funds for charities of their choice.
On the commerce side, we are fortunate to be able to work with many great companies in the gaming, book and software industries who partner with us to make their content available to a wide audience through our store, our bundles and Humble Choice Membership Service.
Through their Humble purchases, our community is able to contribute to different charities in different ways: purchasing bundles and items from our digital store allows them to allocate a portion of the proceeds to charities selected by Humble or charities of their choice, and subscribing to our PC gaming membership service automatically allocates 5% of proceeds to a different charity each month.
We also occasionally offer “all for charity” packages for urgent large-scale issues, such as our Humble Heal: COVID-19 package last year and our recent Stand With Ukraine package, where 100% of profits are donated to organizations. related charities.
Apart from that, we have also established the Black Game Development Fundwhich is an annual million dollar program dedicated to identifying and supporting promising black game developers with the goal of advancing their vision of game development, including the opportunity to be published by our Humble label Games.
And on the corporate side, Humble’s aspiration to be a force for good extends to all of our passionate workforce, so you’ll also see employees lending a hand directly to official charitable initiatives, such as with the two employee live charities held last year in aid of various children’s and environmental charities.
To support their efforts to give back, we offer employees a cash reward as part of our quarterly and annual recognition programs, as well as on their birthday, which they can dedicate to the charity of their choice. We also provide 16 hours of time off each year for volunteer work, as well as a reward of up to $250 for their volunteer efforts, and we match up to $250 of their personal donations each year.
David Hessekiel: Tell me more about Stand With Ukraine. How was it built and how was it received?
Kamini Tiwari: Like others around the world, we were appalled by the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting tragedies. Having operated in gaming and charity for many years, we are well aware of the passion and sentiment among large segments of our audience, so we knew if we could put together an initiative that helped engage that audience to support charities rushing to help Ukrainians would be an effective way to raise funds quickly.
We had received feedback from across the company that implementing the bundle was the right thing to do. With all of Humble hunkered down and working on the initiative, we began connecting with our many publishing partners, some of whom we contacted directly and some of whom had contacted us, to bring together a massive set of games, books, and of software. , and coordinating with our charity partners to ensure we had identified the best ways to use the funds raised with the bundle. Although it took a while to finalize everything, it was worth it; together with our industry partners, we were able to bring over $20 million to Ukraine, the largest donation we have been able to make in our 11-year history.
We are extremely grateful to our community for their attention and action in favor of this important cause. While it cannot undo the pain and devastation caused by the invasion, the funding will go a long way towards feeding, sheltering and providing medical care to the millions of refugees who have fled Ukraine since the war began.
David Hessekiel: Is there a focus on the causes Humble Bundle contributes to?
Kamini Tiwari: (We focus) our efforts on the charities that can do the most good with the funding we provide, especially in the priority areas we covered in our Social Impact Report:
● Crisis and disaster relief
● Quality education
● Equity and inclusion
● Climate change and sustainability
This means that we are not able to support everything that we and our audience would like, but it allows us to increase the effectiveness of every dollar donated.
Another big area of focus for us is the Black Game Developer Fund, a million dollar annual program we created in 2020 following the social upheaval following the murders of George Floyd and countless others. . We know that donating for racial equity and justice can help make a difference, but as a member of the gaming industry, we also see that a systemic lack of access to different kinds of resources, such as mentorship and marketing support, in addition to funding, has disproportionately affected the ability of many passionate and talented black developers to advance their game vision.
Through this program, we have now provided funding to over 25 development teams around the world, including Africa, Europe and South America, and we look forward to continuing this effort for many years to come. with the ultimate goal of having their games published, either by Humble Games, if they fit well with the portfolio of indie titles we’re building, or by another publisher.