Christine Edwards | Manager, The Bungie Foundation

DSC_0019Christine Edwards
Manager | The Bungie Foundation
Bellevue, WA

“My parents let me follow my wildest whims across the world. It was important that I not let any insecurities or fear of the unknown dictate what I did… On all fronts they’ve been incredibly supportive in their own unique ways. They provided the perfect balance to create the approach I needed for life.”

Christine, what greatness do you bring to the world?

The Bungie Foundation has a mission to reduce the stress and suffering of children. Bungie itself is a video game company. We’re a team who is very passionate – the thing everyone could get on board with and feel very strong and passionate about was helping kids.

Bungie’s president, who has always been very philanthropic, finally had the chance to create our own non-profit, which was founded in 2010. When we first started the foundation, we didn’t have anyone to run it full time; I’d been running it as a side gig. It wasn’t until last year that we were big enough to dedicate a full time person to the foundation.

Foundation_SCH__Autism_AuctionIn this role, I manage all of Bungie’s philanthropic efforts, both through the foundation and our corporate efforts that don’t necessarily fall under the foundation charter. We have an amazing gaming community that comes together to rally around fundraisers and enable us to make a bigger impact.

I think my general personality always leans toward helping people. I’m not necessarily motivated by personal gain; helping others is my biggest motivator, whether that’s making their day better or their job easier. Every task I do is intended to be for the betterment of someone else. It’s very motivating. I’m not doing it for me. I can’t slack off because it’s affecting someone else. I get to come to work every day motivated to help new people and find new projects. I can’t imagine a world any better than the one I have. I’ve never been in a place where people are so passionate about what they do every day. Even if their passions are directed at something different than mine, it’s impossible not to feel motivated.

MAW_Art_WorkshopOur two largest projects through the Bungie Foundation are with Make-A-Wish; we’ve worked with them since 2001. That relationship started because we had a Make-A-Wish kid whose one wish was to come meet the developers at Bungie. The game was so impactful for this child, and we have a pretty regular set of kids who have the same wish. With our own foundation, we’re able to expand what we give. For the Washington and Alaska chapters, any time a kid has a wish that involves anything that gets plugged in or turned on, it’s underwritten, and often installed, by us.

We also have our iPads for Kids program at Seattle Children’s Hospital. We fully customize iPads to loan out in the hospital. We have a full time staff member who’s stationed at the hospital. That person works with the hospital’s Child Life department to understand a patient’s age, interests, if there are any disabilities that need to be accommodated, and if they’re working toward specific health goals. It incorporates the ideas of distraction, therapeutic play, and can help when they’re missing their friends and family.”

Who made you great?

Family_at_Disneyland“My parents motivated me and put me on the path I’m on right now. I think they took a different approach, but it was the combination of their styles that molded who I am today.

My mom was kind and compassionate and gentle. It was important to my mom to recognize the differences between my twin sister and me and to honor those differences. She was always there to lend a listening ear. Not to tell us what to do, but to listen to us and talk through our issues. She taught me the importance of genuinely caring about other people and being empathetic toward other people and their unique approach to life. I think that’s one of the most important attributes I can have in helping other people – to listen to what they need and not impose what I think.

Family_Disney_ChristmasMy dad was a military man. His dad was a military man. He had a more firm approach when we were younger. He was the one who taught me discipline and determination. He always led by example. He was at work every morning at 6am, home at 6pm. He did so in order to make sure our family was well taken care of. It was him who taught me what I needed to do to achieve my goals in life, that nothing is going to get handed to you. You have to be passionate and dedicated in order to get anything out of life. These days, he’s so adorable and laid back, but still lives by those values that I respect so greatly in him. I look up to him so much.

The combination of their two personalities is how I approach my life. I dive right in and put 110% effort into what I care about, which is caring about people, and being compassionate. Those are the things they instilled in me. On all fronts they’ve been incredibly supportive in their own unique ways. They provided the perfect balance to create the approach I needed for life.”

What’s something we can DO to make ourselves great?

“For me, it’s all about experiences. I think I learned so much more from getting outside of my comfort zone than I ever really learned from a book that I read or a class that I took.

That’s another area where my parents really supported me. When I was 12 years old, my friend asked me if I wanted to go spend the summer with her in South Korea, and I thought NO WAY am I going to be allowed to do that. But I asked and they said, “you know, if that’s something you want to do, go do it.”

A lot of times those opportunities were daunting and a little bit scary, but they were also very exciting to me. My parents let me follow my wildest whims cross the world. It was important that I not let any insecurities or fear of the unknown dictate what I did. It’s okay to be scared but it’s never okay to let those fears stop you from trying. Even if it’s the worst experience of your life, you’re still going to learn something about yourself. Anything that sounds like it could be potentially interesting to you, go try it. We all have the capacity to learn.”

What’s something we can USE to make ourselves great?

“I love reading books that tell a human story that gives me a different perspective that I might have not otherwise had. I’m reading a book called Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. It’s about a lawyer and his experience representing people who have been wrongly accused, badly represented, or disenfranchised by the justice system. The message is to never look at people at face value. That there’s always another story. Spend time listening to people and figuring out how they got to where they are.”

The Bungie Foundation exists to reduce distress and suffering of children. Several times a year, the Bungie community, players and devs alike, come together to support one of their many projects. Want to contribute to the Bungie Foundation? Be sure to follow the organization on Twitter so you can be aware of their next campaign.

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