We are pleased to announce that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker staff and players have donated a grand total of $US280,039.13 to the Typhoon Haiyan appeal fund. The Rational Group will be matching these funds, bringing the total amount raised to $US560,078.26.
Houses, farms and businesses have been destroyed, with a lot of critical infrastructure damaged. These funds will be used by CARE to help deliver emergency aid to families in desperate need of help. CARE aims to provide lifesaving food, shelter and assistance to 200,000 people (40,000 families) and help communities recover in the months and years to come.
The mettle of an organization is perhaps best judged when you see how it responds to challenges.
The Rational Group has a long history of rising to challenges and rallying forces to meet community needs. We do this because poker players are a caring and generous bunch and because our employees are dedicated to service not only to our players but to our communities.
We certainly don't do it for the recognition... but it is gratifying when it comes.
Last week, we proudly accepted the Award for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility by the Isle of Man Newspapers group. There are many definitions of corporate responsibility. For us, it's in our daily business lives through such things as our commitment to best-in-breed responsible gaming practices and ensuring game integrity and player fund security. It's in our annual charitable and sponsorship support to the communities where we live and work. It's also in the spontaneous times when our skills and resources can make a difference. Like earlier this year when the Isle of Man suffered a snowstorm of the century that took the lives of thousands of livestock and threatened the livelihood of many in our farm community. Sixty staff members dropped what they were doing in response to an emergency request from the local community and got out their shovels to begin digging through 9-foot snow drifts. Or last year when it looked as if the Isle of Man's mobile library would lose its funding and was going to be closed down, we stepped in with funds to ensure that those in remote island communities, including many who cannot leave their homes, could continue to look forward to their next book delivery.
From funding the building of a primary school in Costa Rica to contributing engineering expertise to exciting projects such as Cancer Research UK's Citizen Science Project Gamejam in London, we can do some amazing things by pulling together and tapping our skills and resources.
Being a responsible company also means being prepared in advance for when a call for help comes out of the blue. Earlier this year, we created a partnership with humanitarian organization CARE International through our new Helping Hands charity programme so that we could quickly activate our player communities to lend a hand in times of need. As these things go, the ink was barely dry when Typhoon Haiyan devastated areas of the Philippines earlier this month.
Within 48 hours we created an online mechanism for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker players to donate and promised to match all funds our players provided. This appeal will continue until December 4th (midnight ET) but so far our players have responded with $247,000 in donations, meaning that with the Rational Group's contribution we are on our way to providing more than $500,000 to CARE (and there's still time to contribute). We've also provided a way for our staff members to contribute to CARE, and we'll be matching those contributions as well.
Players donate by buying-in to a tournament that they never actually play. So, like us, they don't contribute for the recognition; they do it because it's the right thing. That said, it's nice to be recognized and the people at CARE sent along this video message thanking our players and our staff for their important contribution to Haiyan relief.
We're proud to be associated with CARE and to be a conduit for our players, who prove again and again how generous the poker community can be. The feedback is just the cherry on the top.
How you can contribute
1. Open the PokerStars lobby.
2. Click on 'Tourney'.
3. Click on 'All' and type 'Haiyan' into the search box.
4. Register for tournaments equal to the size of the donation you'd like to pledge (and PokerStars will match it).
Eric Hollreiser is Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars.