Unity has launched a call for submissions for its Unity for Humanity grants, which support social impact causes. And the musician Jewel will serve as the celebrity judge for the program.

To date, Unity has donated more than $8 million in grants to creators and the company is adding another $500,000 in grants to the next set of recipients.

Today, Unity is opening its call for submissions for the Unity for Humanity Grant — an annual campaign to fund projects supporting the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. The company will have its own celebrity judge.

Previous judges included actress Rosario Dawson, and musical artist Common. Unity made the announcement ahead of its Unite conference for game developers.

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“We are always inspired by the innovative ways that creators are using real-time 3D (RT3D) to build a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world. Today, the Unity for Humanity 2024 Grant opens to continue our support of social impact creators and their critical work,” said Jessica Lindl, vice president of social impact at Unity, in a blog post.

For 2024, one of the grants will be issued in collaboration with award-winning singer-songwriter, NYT bestselling author, and mental health pioneer, Jewel. Together, Unity will select a RT3D project that directly addresses themes of wellness as one of the 2024 grant recipients, Lindl said.

For over 20 years, the Inspiring Children Foundation (ICF) – cofounded by guest grant judge Jewel – has transformed lives through a whole human approach to physical, emotional, and mental health.

ICF’s complete portfolio of tools, including Jewel Never Broken (a free online community and curriculum), integrates mental health behavioral resources with best-in-class peer support. These trusted and proven tools have been the foundation for the emerging metaverse-based mental health platform Innerworld. Both ICF and Innerworld have helped countless young people build meaningful connections, learn mindfulness, and expand their self-efficacy to heal, grow, and flourish.

A look back at past grantees

For inspiration on the application, Lindl offered the chance to check out the amazing stories behind some of past Unity for Humanity grantees.

Origen, is a narrative XR piece designed to connect users to the environment through stories from the indigenous communities that have safeguarded the land of the Amazon rainforest for centuries. Set in an ethereal forest, Origen guides viewers to consider their role in land stewardship and the cause-effect relationship we have with the Earth, while underscoring the importance of intergenerational storytelling.

Emilia Sánchez Chiquetti and the Presencias team were awarded a Unity for Humanity Environment Grant in 2021 to support the development of Origen. Since then, the team has completed the Venice Biennale College and showcased the experience at the 2023 Venice Immersive Festival.

Teaching language and customs through song

Songs of Cultures, a 2022 Unity for Humanity Imagine Grant winner, is an app that uses AR to turn familiar environments into fantastic musical worlds, facilitating the social integration of children and migrant families. The project was developed by Binh Minh Herbst and her company A.MUSE, a female-founded interactive design studio, in partnership with educators and parents.

With an emphasis on fun, Songs of Cultures encourages kids to learn about cultural differences, appreciate their own roots, and expand their horizons through the joy of music.

Revolutionizing mental health with a virtual self-care pet

2023 Unity for Humanity Community Grant winner, Amaru, is an app that offers a virtual self-care pet to assist users in developing new habits and practices for their mental health. Originally launched in May 2021, Amaru was specifically designed to address the growing mental health crisis by providing tools and resources for improving focus, managing anxiety, and alleviating depression.

Downloaded over 700,000 times and boasting a 4.8 out of 5.0 rating on Google Play, Amaru has won endorsements from mental health and video game nonprofits like Take This, Guardians Mental Health, and Global Game Jam as well as awards from the NC IDEA and Unity for Humanity. Amaru has raised money for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and is the focus of multiple studies that indicate the game helps.

While Amaru is currently only available in English, the team is embarking on a campaign to localize the app into more languages to radically expand its access and impact. Check it out today on your iOS or Android device.

If you’re ready to apply for a grant, submit an application by 11:59 pm PT on January 5, 2024.

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