The AbleGamers Foundation Inc.

So Everyone Can Game

aka AbleGamers   |   Charles Town, WV   |  http://www.ablegamers.org

Mission

Create opportunities that enable play, in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Ruling year info

2009

Executive Director / Founder

Mr. Mark C. Barlet

Chief Opperating Officer

Mr. Steve D. Spohn

Main address

PO Box 508

Charles Town, WV 25414 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

30-0533750

NTEE code info

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (U01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Loneliness and Social-Isolation is an epidemic for people with disabilities. The lack of reliable transportation, and the stigmas associated with having a disability means that people can find themselves living in near isolation. You are twice as likely to die prematurely is you are lonely. Social-isolation can lead to accelerated cognitive decline as we age. For children, a lack of a social life can lead to poorer heath as they get old.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Outreach

One of the core tenets of AbleGamers is that gaming is not just the game, but the rich community. Fostering inclusive communities gives people with disabilities a place to make connections with like-minded people.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

People with disabilities want to become players, so they can combat the social isolation that is an epidemic in the disabled population. This requiers one on one help between our trained specialist and the person with disabilities.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Veterans

There may not be a product on the market that will bridge the gap between a player with disabilities and the content they want to connect with, so we have a facility that lets us make it.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Veterans

AbleGamers has set itself apart because it has the largest group of players with disabilities that contribute their data to helping to make the digital entertainment industry a more accessible place.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

In order to support our community we must work hand in hand with industry to educate and support them as they create new content, so that the features and options are available to support players with disabilities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Hearne Leadership Award 2012

American Association for People with Disabilities

da Vinci Awards 2013

National MS Society, Michigan Chapter

Leo "People's Choice" Award 2013

National MS Society, Michigan Chapter

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants counseled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Children, Preteens

Related Program

Peer Counseling

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AbleGamers works one-on-one with a person with disabilities who wants to become a player. Our peer counselor spends on average 9 hours for each person we assist. 2020 number includes online support.

Number of research studies conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, People with disabilities

Related Program

User Research

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Understanding the needs of players with disabilities is key to creating a more accessible world. We have over 400 people with disabilities who participate in our work.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, People with disabilities

Related Program

Community Outreach

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our community outreach is driven by our volunteers. We cannot create the inclusive communities we want without the people to create those safe spaces.

Number of students enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

User Research

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AbleGamers created a Certified Accessible Player Experience Practitioner program. We train content creators and developers on how to make content that supports the needs of people with disabilities.

Number of individuals connected with vendors seeking feedback from people with disabilities.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, People with disabilities

Related Program

User Research

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AbleGamers’ Player Panel is the largest group of its kind. These players are empowered to lend their unique perspective to design and development that has led to change in the industry.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AbleGamers has spent over 15 years working to give people with disabilities a rich and rewarding social outlet using the video games as our tool. In video game, your disabilities doesn't have to define you. You can run and jump and be anyone you want to be. The design of modern video games means you can make friends, and have fun without ever leaving your home.

AbleGamers spearheaded the movement of game accessibility. For 15 years we have worked with the largest game makers to make the games more accessible. We have worked to make the hardware that bridges the gap between a person with disabilities and the online worlds games create.
Our strategy is to deliver our mission through the following five pillars:
1. Peer Counseling
Our Peer Counselors are trained individuals, many of whom are players with disabilities themselves, who provide one-on-one guidance to assess player needs in order to enable play. Our goal for the Peer Counselor program is to not only support our players with disabilities in how to play but also how to use technology to increase independence and have a better quality of life.
2. Community and Inclusion
The Community and Inclusion Team focuses its outreach efforts on supporting, improving, and cultivating opportunities that forge lifelong relationships. Our Community and Inclusion Specialists work directly with the industry and support community initiatives resulting in a more inclusive gaming community, creating safe spaces where players with disabilities have a voice.
3. Player Research
Our Player Research team and their player panels make gaming better for everyone, including people with disabilities, by discovering barriers due to equipment compatibility or physical limitations and then working to create solutions to facilitate accessible player experiences.
4. Engineering Research
Engineering Research creates assistive technologies that provide solutions to barriers to play, allowing people with disabilities to enter the gaming communities. Sometimes they are one-off solutions for one player, and other times, it's bringing new technology to market for everyone.
5. Professional Development
Professional Development guides industry philosophies to promote an inclusive and accessible future. We can build a new controller to help a player with a physical disability. Still, to support other disabilities, those solutions are done in the software. So this pillar also develops materials and provides education to the gaming industry on assistive technology and equipment for players with disabilities.

We have trained Peer Counselors who provide one-on-one guidance to assess player needs in order to enable play.
We provide grants to those that cannot afford the technology they need to game.

Our Engineering Research Team creates assistive technologies that provide solutions to play barriers, allowing people with disabilities to enter gaming communities.

Our Player Researchers and their Player Panels produce peer-reviewed studies that have led to change in the industry. AbleGamers’ Player Panel is the largest group of its kind. These players are empowered to lend their unique perspective to game design and development.

Our Expansion Pack program provides customized packages of assistive gaming technologies to facilities with special needs patients.

AbleGamers provides accessible design training to game developers through Accessible Player Experience (APX) Practitioner Training.

We have changed the space for the better, and we will keep doing it for years to come.

One of our proudest moments was the development of the Xbox Adaptive Controller alongside the passionate developers at Xbox and Microsoft. The AbleGamers Engineering Research Team will continue to create assistive technologies to provide solutions to play barriers to allow people with disabilities to enter gaming communities.

We were the first organization to do academic research on the needs and wants of players with disabilities. Our published research has informed decision-makers and steered the industry towards greater accessibility. Our Player Researchers along with their player panels will continue to lend their unique perspective to game design and development.

First launched in early 2016, the AbleGamers Expansion Pack program provides free customized packages of assistive gaming technologies to facilities with special needs patients as a way to ensure gaming experiences are widely accessible to everyone, including those with physical disabilities. In the program’s first year alone, AbleGamers donated six Expansion Packs to various medical institutions, sending out $100,000 worth of accessible technology such as modified controllers and other devices and providing on-site training and support. With the support of gamers and sponsors, AbleGamers aims to increase the size and frequency of future Expansion Packs.

Our goal for the Peer Counselor program is to not only support our players with disabilities in how to play but also how to use technology to increase independence and have a better quality of life.

In 2020 we trained and certified 114 game developers from some of the largest game studios in the world through our APX training course, which helps designers create accessible experiences for players with disabilities. We will continue to train developers to apply our data-driven APX Design Patterns and promote a focus on accessibility early in the design cycle, learn to identify accessibility issues during the design cycle and implement solutions to fix them, equip them with the data they need to show accessibility is a worthwhile investment in their title and to understand the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and what it requires.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Based on feedback, we changed the peer counseling to expose more solutions so that players with disabilities can self-help, this has allowed us to serve more people with the same resources.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

The AbleGamers Foundation Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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The AbleGamers Foundation Inc.

Board of directors
as of 9/16/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Mark Barlet

AppSol Technologies

Term: 2009 - 2015

Stephanie Walker

The AbleGamers Foundation

Cheryl Mitchell

EconSys

Larry Goldberg

Yahoo!

Christopher Power

University of York, UK

Steve Spohn

The AbleGamers Foundation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/06/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person with a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/16/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.