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Space150, U.S. Bank Help United Way Launch Game

The online game is aimed at educating players about the trials faced by school children living in poverty.

With the help of well-known local companies U.S. Bancorp, Space150, and Ecolab, Greater Twin Cities United Way is trying a new way to bring attention to poverty and raise donations.
 
The organization on Tuesday launched an online game called Pass the Grade, which is aimed at educating players about the trials faced by school children who live in poverty.
 
The game, which was developed by Minneapolis-based interactive agency Space150, is part of United Way’s Pass the Grade campaign, through which the organization hopes to help 7,500 kids in poverty pass their grade. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp paid for part of the cost to develop the game.
 
United Way said St. Paul-based Ecolab, Inc., has also pledged to donate up to $30,000 to its campaign. For each person who plays the game, the company will donate $1 up to a maximum of $10,000. For each person who donates after playing the game, the company will match the dollar contribution for up to $20,000. 
 
Donations will be used towards efforts such as providing healthy snacks at schools, one-on-one tutoring programs, and after-school programs, United Way said.
 
The game, which can be played at uwpassthegrade.com, illustrates challenges faced by a third-grader. It asks players to complete tasks such as filling a plate with food and getting to school on time through interactive features.
 
“Tackling the challenge of poverty and making a difference in a child’s life can’t be done alone; it must be a community effort,” Kathy Hollenhorst, senior vice president of marketing for Greater Twin Cities United Way, said in a statement. “In playing Pass the Grade, one learns about the impact of poverty on a child’s educational advancement, while at the same time learning about how to make a difference in the community.”
 
Greater Twin Cities United Way is a nonprofit organization whose efforts are aimed at fulfilling basic, education, and health-related needs for those living in poverty. The organization raised $87 million in donations last year.
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