Reasons given for refusal of GenCon charity donation

Apparently the recent decision by the Christian Children’s Fund to refuse $17,000 from a GenCon charity auction has raised enough of an uproar that an explanation is being offered (to both the Escapist and directly via email to concerned gamers). According to Cheri Dahl, VP of International Communications and Fundraising at CCF, “When GenCon contacted CCF about its auction, we were pleased to accept donations. However, we couldn’t lend our name for publication because our policies have specific criteria for endorsements.” So, the situation may have been a misunderstanding – but given the accusations religious groups have leveled at gamers and D&D in the past, this will likely be perceived as damage control after the fact.

10 comments

  1. I’m very glad that some people had the good sense to contact CCF directly for a statement. There was a lot of Olympic-level conclusion-jumping being done in the original post about this.

  2. This clarification was just posted on the Gen Con forums:

    http://community.gencon.com/forums/t/18786.aspx

    I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on the Gen Con Indy 2008 Charity issue, as there has been a lot of misinformation spreading like wildfire on various forums, blogs, etc.

    First allow me to explain how Gen Con goes about selecting its show charity. The process is very simple. We generally choose several potential charities based on the following criteria…
    Is local to the (Indy) area
    Supports children
    Preferably has a focus in math, science or gaming related activities.
    Staff then votes individually on which charity we would like to support at the show; majority wins.
    In 2008, Gen Con decided on a different route in choosing the charity, due the death of Gary Gygax, Gen Con’s founder. It was without question that the charity for 2008 would be one of Gary’s favorite charities.

    In choosing the charity for 2008, Gen Con had heard through several channels, including a close friend of Gary’s family, that Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) was one of Gary’s favored charities. Gen Con contacted CCF about our intentions and asked for a logo and some promotional materials that we could use on our website. We were informed by a person at CCF that they would not be able to provide us with these materials, apparently due to our association with D&D. We were not comfortable with this position, considering Gary’s role as co-founder of D&D, and founder of Gen Con, and therefore we decided to pick a different charity. We informed the Gygax family of our decision and the reason behind it, and asked if there was another charity they would like us to consider. Fisher House was suggested, as it too was a favored charity of Gary’s. Considering the outstanding services this charity provides to service members, veterans, and their families, we knew Fisher House would be a great charity for Gen Con to support. We later found out that we had been misinformed as to CCF’s position in regards to D&D and Gen Con, but by then we had already chosen Fisher House as our charity, and announcements and promotions were already made and in the works, such that it would not have been possible to change charities at that point.

    To be clear, Gen Con made the decision not to donate to CCF; at no time did CCF refuse to take charity money from Gen Con. Gen Con chooses a show charity long before Gen Con Indy 2008 ever takes place.

    I have sent an email to The Partnership that runs http://www.livegameauctions.com and asked them to make sure the information being presented and discussed on their website is updated and accurate regarding this issue. I would also like to ask each of you to do your part in setting the record straight by contacting the various websites, blogs, etc. that you are active on, and where this issue is being discussed, to make sure they have their facts correct as well. The statement on Wikinews purporting to be from a Gen Con staff member is completely incorrect, as Gen Con staff has never commented on this subject …until now.

    If there are any further questions or points of clarification, please feel free to contact me personally at jeannette@gencon.com.

    Thank you.
    Jeannette LeGault

    Director of Event Programming – Gen Con LLC

  3. So in the end, CCF still wouldn’t participate fully with the charity auction because of D&D, causing GenCon to find another charity that wasn’t so afraid of being peripherally associated with the game for one real world event.

    Sugar coating it several different ways is nice and all, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  4. Actually, that’s not what I get from that statement. Note that Gen Con states it was misinformed
    as to CCF’s position, after it was too late to change charities. If anything, this just appears
    to be a huge misunderstanding.

  5. “Misinformed”? Riiiiight. Smells like some major backpedaling to me. CCF: “Oh, no, we didn’t mean that… especially now all the angry email is flooding in.”

    Hope some assistant at CCF is getting the riot act read to them for a bad call.

  6. Well, even if CCF didn’t know an amount, and wouldn’t work with a D&D-related group just out of principle, before things got started – well, yeah, it still stinks.

  7. Please read carefully; GenCon were the ones deciding not to donate the money to this charity and are saying so in their public statement.

    What CCF refused to provide were the logos to use in the auction as they would be viewed as the sponsor rather than the beneficiary.

    To then quote GenCon in the statement above:

    “We later found out that we had been misinformed as to CCF’s position in regards to D&D and Gen Con, but by then we had already chosen Fisher House as our charity, and announcements and promotions were already made and in the works, such that it would not have been possible to change charities at that point.”

    What we see no money was ever refused; what was refused was the use of logos as it would mean (possibly by the charter of the charity or legally) that they would be shown to be the sponsor. Whatever the exchange was, GenCon decided to change the beneficiary to another charity.

    CCF issued a public statement (from the statement from http://www.theescapist.com/bequest/news.htm and http://ogrecave.com/2008/10/24/charity-money-befouled-by-dd/ sent to members of the public) stating their position; This was obviously sent too late for GenCon to reorganise the money so it went to the fisher fund.

    In short, they could never have refused the $17,000 as GenCon never offered it to them. It can be treated as a misunderstanding or mishandling with charity events.

  8. Sam: I’m aware of what the CCF claims the misunderstanding was. But who initially misinformed Gen Con about the CCF’s position on D&D? As near as I can tell, that was some underling at CCF. And why can’t the CCF be a sponsor of a charity, when Fisher House obviously had no problems? As I said, it still stinks, and not because of Gen Con.

    Draw your own conclusions, extend as much benefit of the doubt as you like. IMHO, someone at CCF screwed up, and everyone over there’s been covering his/her mistake ever since. Definitely in the “mishandling” category.

  9. Actually, this sounds like more like dual miscommunication + some ‘Water Tank Gossip’ thrown together…

    I work at a food franchise that is very popular Western Canada and thus, we recieve literally hundreds of requests of donations for various events (everything from local to all of Western Canada!). Now we have very specific rules WE have to follow in reguards to ‘how’ and ‘what’ that donation is AND to how much advertising we require for said donation… Now some of this we can do on the spot, but for some of this, you have to move up the food chain and goto headoffice.

    And, lets face it, both these operations are huge undertakings (GenCon and CCF) and it’s not like both ‘managers’ of the respective departments are just standing around waiting for a phone call… So it is more likely some assistant made AND recieved the call. From there, I imagien the conversation was pretty standard right up to the point of ‘signage’. Then someone said, ‘I gotta bump you up the line, can you get my boss to call you back?’.

    Now throw in some ‘Water Tank’ talk and before long, everyone on one side heard everything wrong well before the respective ‘Bosses’ have even touched base…

    I think ‘Gossip’ Has tarnished two good, respected camps here.

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