Game Changer, the Event

What is the potential of games for engaging people with the missions of nonprofit organizations working to change communities for the better? Serious games—games developed for learning and positive social purposes—are growing in popularity and effectiveness. Some individuals report they have learned about a new cause by playing a game.

The Becker College Interactive Media Program and the Nonprofit Support Center of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation partnered to host “Game Changer,” a forum for local nonprofits to learn more about serious games from those who create them and to initiate access to a channel for projects designed to produce games with social impact.

» Panelists
» Greater Worcester Community Foundation
» Contact Event Attendees


Gail Randall, Special Projects Officer, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, @GWGives

“I read an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy about serious gaming that discussed ways in which nonprofits were using gaming technology to engage people in their missions,” said Randall.  “Knowing Becker’s reputation in game design, I sought out faculty who could help bring this discussion to the staff in our program.”

Paul Cotnoir, Ph.D., Director of Design Programs, Becker College, @BeckerGames1  

“How many of you have played a video game today? A number of mobile apps that people have on their phones, such as banking apps, count as serious games. Organizations use graphic technology-oriented content to create a user experience.”

Terrasa Ulm, B.S., M.A., Professor of Game Design, Becker College

“Serious games are used for something other than entertainment; games can engage people, reach a large audience, and help users experience the value proposition of a product.”

Monty Sharma, Managing Director, Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), @Montster27

Michael Boloudakis, CEO, Kinems, Inc., @Mikebolou

Shana Hawrylchak, Manager of Exhibits and Collections, EcoTarium, @EcoTarium

“As a non-profit, it is always challenging to identify resources towards undertaking a new endeavor.  Your first game does not have to be an immense undertaking; start small, and make sure that the scope of your first game is achievable.   Games are also increasingly avenues for which you can obtain grant funding, if you are applying for a grant for an upcoming exhibit, website, or program, see if it make sense to include a game-based component.”

Sharon Wood, Founder/CEO, Happy People Games, @SWWood

“There are two facts that make the theory of games for positive change viable:  Learning comes from experience, relevance, motivation, clarity and trial and error. Games provide this in a unique way. The sheer number of people who play games, for learning or a sole purpose of entertainment, combined with the community that games create, challenges forward thinkers to seize the opportunity to use games for positive change.”

Greater Worcester Community Foundation (GWCF)

Greater Worcester Community FoundationThe Greater Worcester Community Foundation is unique as a citizen-run model of philanthropy dedicated to enhancing the community as a whole, now and in the future, rather than just one sector or cause.  The Foundation remains faithful to the vision of its founders, whose experiment in a distinctly neighborly and self-reliant model of philanthropy took hold and spread deep roots. The Foundation is unique in its capacity to unite people from diverse sectors in influencing and effecting positive change within our community.

GWCF Nonprofits

Contact Event Attendees

Christine Drown
Development & Outreach Officer
Alzheimer'a Association MA/NH Chap

Dalmarie Baez
Youth Development Supervisor
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center

Dianne Bruce
Executive Director
Edward Street Child Services

Vanessa Bumpus
Exhibit Coordinator
Worcester Historical Museum

Jennifer Davis Carey
Executive Director
Worcester Education Collaborative

Susan Ceccacci
Education Director
Preservation Worcester

Regina Connerty
Outreach Coordinator
Growing Places Garden Project

Marianne Delorey
Executive Director
Colony Retirement Homes

Ellen Dunlap
American Antiquar ian Society

Joanne Foster
Executive Director
Growing Places Garden Project

Tammy Gilpatrick
Community Development Specialist
The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts

Carly Goodell
Development & Database associate
Girls Inc. of Worcester

Brittany Grenon
Development Associate
Community Harvest Project

Midge Hamilton
Marketing Director
Music Worcester

Molly Hardy
Digital Humanities Curator
American Antiquarian Society

Sheron Hozier
Program Manager
Worcester Youth Center

Alexandra Kartheiser
Communications Director
Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance

Melissa Kershaw
Director of Education and Public Programs
Fruitlands Museum

Naomi LeBlanc
Director of Development
Worcester County Food Bank

Daniel Mazinza
US State Department /Community Solutions Fellow
African Community Education

Jean McMurray
Executive Director
Worcester County Food Bank

Jennifer Peck
Development Director
The Arc of Opportunity

Jeanette Roach
Program Manager
Worcester Youth Center

Nayrim Serano
KIDZ Coordinator
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center

Michael Volmar
Chief Curator
Fruitlands Museum