When Stack Up received an invite from the Sony PlayStation team to come to San Francisco, we literally were not sure of what to expect. As much as we’d like to play it off like it’s a common occurrence, it’s not every day you get an invite from one of the biggest names in the games industry to just pop on by their offices. Next thing we know, the Sony team has booked us a flight to come up to their headquarters!
Here’s the backstory: Sony has a group of inclusive employee work groups that cover a variety of populations: African American, Latino, Gay and Transgender, Women in Gaming, and last but certainly not least, a group known as VETS. Honestly, I can’t remember what the acronym for VETS is, but you can bet it’s something to the effect of “Veterans Employee Team at Sony” or some such. Bottom line: Sony has an initiative within their walls, giving their prior service military personnel a work group to interact and share stories with one another.
Mid-September every year, Sony throws “Diversity Week”, which is Sony’s chance to introduce the rest of their employees to these work groups, whether through well-known speakers or creative activities in open areas. We were invited to be a part of one of these activities alongside their VETS workgroup.
Stack Up was given a table in front of the headquarters cafeteria right next to the VETS working group, much like what you would see at a convention (minus all the pushups, of course). We had a static display of what one of our supply crates going overseas look like, a video display running a loop of our Youtube channel’s greatest hits, and most importantly…there was a batting cage.
Yes, Sony set up a virtual batting cage right next to where our table was and challenged employees to get involved. For every home run that someone hit, Sony would donate a game. Every five home runs, Sony would donate a PlayStation 4. Now while that sounds daunting for the average Sony employee, the difficulty was set at “rookie”, which meant a stiff breeze was knocking balls out of the park.
The odds were definitely in our favor, and for the afternoon, people stopping by the cafeteria for coffee breaks and lunch were interacting with our team, asking questions about Stack Up and how they could help. After giving our basic elevator pitch, we would simply point them over to the batting cages and signs showing them the donations that were being raised, and they would go over and start swinging for the fences.
All totaled, after the home runs were tallied and the bats were put away, Sony ended up donating over 20 Playstations, 20 headsets, 20 Dualshock controllers, and over 100 games, which will go a long way into covering Stack Up annual expenses for our upcoming “Hundred Heroes” initiative in December (link)! For those of you not familiar, Hundred Heroes is when we take a lot of the donations we raise during Call to Arms in November (link), then turn those dollars back around to give back out to veterans around the world in need during the holidays! It’s really the best way to put a giant exclamation point on the end of Stack Up’s giving year.
Overall, a wonderful event, and we look forward working with Sony to identify some deserving veterans in need this holiday season as a way to give back!