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Social Impact year in review

December 8, 2021 in News | 13 min. read
Light shining through a view of trees
Light shining through a view of trees
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Inspired by our incredible employee base and creator community, and grounded in our inclusion principles of empathy, respect, and opportunity, we set out to expand our impact and empower our entire community to foster positive social change. Since launching Unity Social Impact at the Unity for Humanity Summit in October 2020, we have:

  • Awarded more than $4M in grants
  • Volunteered at over 700 organizations
  • Prepared 18K learners to access entry-level real-time 3D jobs
  • Equipped 560K students and educators to access RT3D curriculum and training
  • Donated over $1.2B in software grants to schools, students, and educators

Read on to learn about our journey towards a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive future.

Visionary changemakers

Creators are using Unity to build innovative projects that have the potential to change the world. Through the Unity for Humanity Program, we were motivated by this powerful creativity to support creators with a range of financial, technical, and marketing support. Nearly $700K in grants were distributed to support changemakers reaching new audiences and advancing their meaningful work. Discover some of the powerful RT3D innovators we have been able to partner with:

From left to right: Tamara Shogaolu - Creator of Un(re)solved with PBS Frontline, Luisa Dantas of Rise Home Stories Team - Creators of Dot’s Home, and El Lim of Khayalan Arts - Creators of Samudra

Tamara Shogaolu - Creator of Un(re)solved with PBS Frontline 

Tamara Shogaolu is an international director and new media artist focused on sharing intersectional stories across physical and virtual mediums and platforms to promote cross-cultural understanding and challenge preconceptions. Shogaolu received a Unity for Humanity Grant for Un(re)solved to support participation in the Tribeca Juneteenth exhibition. Un(re)solved is currently at the DuSable Museum of African American History, and recently won the major Digital Storytelling prize at IDFA.

Luisa Dantas and the Rise Home Stories Team - Creators of Dot’s Home 

Brasilian-American filmmaker Luisa Dantas works at the intersection of storytelling, social justice, and cities to produce impact-driven multimedia content. Dantas is Executive Producer of Dot’s Home, which received a Unity for Humanity 2020 grant in March. Dot’s Home was recently nominated for an IndieCade Impact Award and is now available to play on itch.io and steam.

El Lim and Khayalan Arts - Creators of Samudra

El Lim is head of Khayalan Arts, an Indonesian creative studio founded to tell environmentally-friendly stories with positive social values using visual and interactive mediums. The team’s latest project, Samudra was recently released on Steam. Samudra is a 2D puzzle, adventure game designed to promote ocean conservation and raise awareness of the impacts of plastic waste.

The Environment Grant winners that were announced at the Unity for Humanity Summit showed us some of the seemingly endless possibilities to create environmental change and lead us towards a climate-positive future using Unity. The winners include:

  • District 64: Remnant Lands by Love Death Design takes participants into the Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles to recount the impacts of oil drilling on community health and demand racial and environmental justice. 
  • Origen by Presencias LLC aims to answer the questions: Is there a link between the way we depict the world to ourselves and the way we inhabit it? The interactive, immersive documentary connects experiencers with the Amazon Rainforest, the Argentine Northwest, and the Andes Mountains through the relationship that local indigenous communities maintain with the land they inhabit.
  • Powers of X, envisioned by AnythingEverything and Son & Heir, is an immersive experience designed to raise awareness about the climate crisis. It leverages VR and AR’s unmatched ability to demonstrate scale in order to visualize the invisible impact that we each have on the planet and present ways to make that impact more positive.

Learn more about each of the 2021 Unity for Humanity Grantees.

What’s Next? Acting upon our mission to uplift inclusive creativity and build community to drive awareness and change, we’re expanding our support of underrepresented creators through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Electric South.

Check out the changemaker showcase to see more inspiring work from creators making an impact using RT3D.

Students working on an electronics project

Inclusive education and economic opportunity

For the past few years, we have granted Unity tools to students, educators, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations to reduce the gap in access to RT3D education and in-demand skills. We’ve grown to support over 560 students and educators this year, and provided over $1.2B in software grants to schools, students, and educators.

We recognize there is still a lot to do to expand access for underrepresented creators. This is why we focused on launching new teaching tools and resources for educators, including:

  • Create with VR for Educators - This course enables educators to successfully teach VR development with Unity. Over 1,700 educators registered for our live summer training.  
  • Educators Hub - This newly developed hub offers a one-stop-shop on Unity Learn to provide educators with resources for integrating Unity into their curriculum.
  • Pathway for educators - This hub helps educators bring pathways learning into the classroom with a custom syllabus, curriculum, and lesson plan.

To support learners in keeping up with technological advancements and the latest best practices, we developed new courses and toolkits:

  • Creative Core - Launched today, our Creative Core Pathway guides you through essential workflows like VFX, lighting, and audio improving your Unity skills. 
  • Create with VR - Build your own, unique VR project starting from a blank design document, and ending with a fully functional project in this course. 
  • Introduction to Visual Scripting & ‘Clive the Cat’s Visual Crypting’ - These toolkits enable beginners to get started scripting and visual scripting on a practical project
  • Houdini & Unity - Use the Houdini Engine in this course to work with procedural Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) in Unity.
  • Cinematic Sample - Explore new career avenues and Unity applications in this introductory course.

Beyond educational resources, we focused on expanding opportunities for creators. Building your mobile game into a business was produced to empower Indie developers to build their mobile game into a self-sustaining business. Live Help underwent critical technical improvements, including the integration of Zoom, new Twitch-Esque broadcasts wherein experts help to resolve editor issues live, and accessibility improvements.

What’s next? In 2022, we’ll be accelerating our mission to provide real-time learning for all even further, by expanding our range of free online courses and launching more solutions to problems educators have identified as barriers to inclusive learning experiences. If you haven’t already, get started developing your skills on unity.com/learn.

Bird's-eye view of a forest with the Unity logo and the words, "Net Zero Starts Now"

Towards a climate positive future

Through education and storytelling, creators are driving towards a more sustainable world. We have granted nearly $1M in environment-related grants this year in support of creators catalyzing sustainable change.

Along with these grants, we’re supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy in the following ways:

  • Offsetting: In October 2021, we announced that we conducted our GHG baseline inventory and will be offsetting our 2020 emissions total of 38,422 tCO2e with an estimated $500K USD in high-quality offsets.  
  • Redesigning: We are reducing our carbon footprint by continuing to source renewable energy, and ensuring that everything purchased is as sustainable as possible. We are implementing energy efficiency projects in our facilities as a part of our return to office planning.  
  • Aligning: We are committed to funding and partnering with groups who are demanding better from the world and setting new industry standards. We’ve signed on to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C, and joined the UN Playing for the Planet Alliance, and Project Drawdown’s Drawdown Labs.  
  • We’re also engaging employees on sustainability initiatives. Our Earth Week events involved more than 1,400 employees in over 30 sustainability-education activities.

What’s Next? This year is all about groundwork. We will continue to drive decarbonization across the gaming industry, and increase our support of sustainable businesses, projects, cleantech innovation, and creators. We’re investing in implementing a robust ESG: Environmental, Social, and Governance disclosure program to elevate our transparency. We anticipate releasing our first ESG report in the Spring of 2022.

Charitable giving and employee engagement

Beyond granting to social impact creators, and equipping future creators with resources and opportunities, we are committed to contributing to organizations that are benefiting inclusive learners. We have partnered with more than 50 organizations this year, donating $2M to drive RT3D education innovation forward and make it more accessible to all.

Here are a few of the organizations we are proud to partner with:

Generation is working to transform education to employment to help both workers and employers. Since their inception, they have graduated over 46K into positions earning 3.8x their pre-program income. We donated $250K for Generation to run a Unity training program in Pakistan. The program is designed to upskill 120 learners in real-time job skills and place 80% of the graduates in jobs within 90 days of graduation.

Western and EXAR will develop AR and VR education tools to bring students into the ocean to virtually swim beside basking sharks. We granted in support of this coursework, and research into the efficacy and benefits of immersive education. We are excited to share best practices, training, and resources for educators as a result of this research in 2022. 

Code Coven aims to reduce barriers to entry into the games and creative tech industries to enable more diverse ideas, stories, and technology to emerge. We granted in support of their organizing 6 ‘Intro to Game Making’ cohorts throughout 2022, influencing approximately 80 students who plan to work in the industry. Graduates are equipped to start, or pivot to game development careers.

Black and white image of Unity employees

Employee engagement

Employees drive our social impact work. So far, over 700 global causes were supported by employee volunteering and donations since the programs launched in February and May of 2021.

In May 2021, as the COVID-19 crisis heightened in India, we initiated $100K USD in grants to employee-recommended organizations. Two grants went to local NGOs that provided emergency medical supplies, food, and financial support to more than 350,000 essential workers and marginalized families in need. Employees raised an additional $15K USD to support HelpAge India, Oxfam India, Goonj, and Rise Against Hunger India.

Also in May, Unity Colombia team members led a campaign in response to widespread protests and violence. This resulted in 2 grants totaling $50,000 USD from Unity, and an additional $5,500 raised by employees donated to Recon Colombia and Malabareando Las Calles.

  • Recon Colombia identifies initiatives of social entrepreneurship to create opportunities, transform realities and contribute to the economic and social development of vulnerable communities to build a different future. 
  • Malabareando Las Calles provides care to children and adolescents who are homeless or at-risk by advocating for their rights, improving health conditions and education, and strengthening institutions responsible for their protection.

In August 2021, two campaigns were organized for Haiti earthquake relief, and to support children in Afghanistan.

What’s Next? Like creators, employees are changemakers. Their passions and talents stimulate change and propel us positively forward. As we usher in 2022 and reflect on the first year of our Employee Giving Program, we’re proud to see the leadership Unity employees have demonstrated in direct response to world events and in support of nonprofits on the frontlines. We’re eager to roll out many future opportunities for employees to make change in our local and global communities, especially as we host our first annual week-long Unity Gives Back global volunteer event.

Looking ahead

2022 will be a crucial year for us as we look to deepen our commitments and provide even more transparency into our progress and plans. Stay tuned for additional information over the next few months, as well as ways that you can be part of this pivotal time. Keep creating meaningful change.

December 8, 2021 in News | 13 min. read
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