Stack of MoneyThe Entertainment Software Association Foundation (ESAF) raised more than $800,000 during its 15th annual “Nite to Unite — for Kids” event, the philanthropic organization today announced.

Held in October each year, Nite to Unite is a black-tie dinner hosted by the ESA and supported by members of the association and the gaming industry to raise funds for the foundation. The money goes toward the ESAF’s scholarship and grant programs. The organization said it’s raised more than $12 million since its founding in 2000.

“Nite to Unite’s success is due to the video game industry’s generosity, leadership, and commitment to children,” said Michael D. Gallagher, the president and CEO of the ESA. “Our industry once again came together to support programs and initiatives that equip America’s young adults with the skills they need for academic and workforce success.”

Valve cofounder Gabe Newell was named 2012 ESA Champion Honoree at this year’s event for his work in bringing physics puzzle game Portal to classrooms across the country. Other honorees in the past have included Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment’s president, chief executive officer, and cofounder; Robbie Bach, former president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division; and film legend George Lucas.

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