2019 Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf has turned his attention to philanthropy work. We talk to the 18-year old and take a look at his initiative with Gamers Outreach.
The esports world stood up and took notice when 16-year old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the Fortnite World Cup back in 2019. The teenager catapulted himself to becoming one of the most successful esports players of all time overnight with his $3 million prize. From appearances on Jimmy Fallon to TODAY, Bugha had made it.
When asked what he would do with his winnings during his appearance on TODAY back in July 2019, Bugha replied: “Save the money, put it to my future and probably buy a new desk”. Fast forward to two years later, and Bugha is making an impact once again in the gaming community by using his influence for a cause greater than himself.
"It's been a wild ride since winning the Fortnite World Cup. It's definitely taken some time for me to get used to the platform I now have,” says Bugha. “Thanks to my family and my agency, I've been able to understand how to make an impact with my platform while still doing what I love to do."
The agency he’s referring to is social media guru and business mogul Gary Vaynerchuk’s agency, VaynerSports. VaynerSports is a social and digital agency which built its reputation on representing athletes in American football before expanding to baseball and combat action sports.
In Spring 2020, Bugha and VaynerSports signed a nationwide licensing deal with one of the fastest growing value retailers, Five Below. The partnership is centered on working toward a joint mission of helping to tear down the financial barriers that prevent kids from getting into gaming.
“We are beyond excited to continue working with Bugha this year, as we share his passion for gaming and believe that everyone should have the ability to play and connect through games,” said Michael Romanko, Chief Merchandising Officer of Five Below.
“The exclusive line of gaming products that we launched last year continues to grow and to reach more and more of our target customers thanks to the incredible value we are always committed to offering. This fall, the holiday season and beyond will be a very exciting time for us, and for our ongoing partnership with Bugha.”
Inspired by Five Below’s ability to decrease the cost barrier of entry into gaming for tens of thousands of kids across the country, Bugha sought to increase his work in making gaming more accessible. Starting Holiday season 2020, Bugha launched his first charitable initiative with Gamers Outreach called Code Bugha.
Bugha's charity initiative with Gamers Outreach
"Making gaming more accessible for more people is a very important mission for me," says Giersdorf. "Since partnering with Gamers Outreach, I couldn't be happier with the impact that we've been able to make together. They're a perfect partner for me. It's important for my community to know by using my Fortnite creator code they're not only supporting me, but they're making a greater impact on the lives of hospitalized kids."
"It's important for my community to know by using my Fortnite creator code they're not only supporting me, but they're making a greater impact on the lives of hospitalized kids."
Gamers Outreach is a 501(c)(3) charity organization that provides recreation to children in hospitals through the power of video games and the gaming community. Hospitalization can often be a lonely, isolating, and scary experience for young people. Gamers Outreach eases those burdens through equipment, technology, and software that help kids cope with long-term treatment. Through Code Bugha, a percentage of revenue generated by his Epic Store code is donated to help fund GO Karts, portable gaming kiosks, across the country.
Gamers Outreach was founded by Zach Wigal, who Esports.gg interviewed after their “simply phenomenal'' campaign in 2021.
"Video games help provide families with a sense of normalcy while they undergo treatment in hospitals," says Zach Wigal, Founder of Gamers Outreach. "Being in the hospital can be a lonely and frightening experience, but games help foster a sense of joy and relief.
"We believe the world is better when kids can play, and we want to empower kids to be themselves, even while they're receiving care. Bugha is one of the superstars of the video game industry. We're grateful to have him involved with our cause and to see the impact he's making for hospitalized children."
Bugha is on pace to donate more than 18 GO Karts (valued at more than $63,000) which will provide more than 36,000 play sessions to hospitalized children annually. In the most recent event with Gamers Outreach, Bugha supported their yearly event Gamers for Giving which came with a fun twist at the end for Bugha's stream.
"Gamers for Giving 2021 was a record-breaking event. With the help of our partners and over 215 content creators, we were able to raise over $960,000 to help make play available for kids in hospitals. Bugha helped us close down the event in a big way raising over $10,000 for the kids (video below). His charity stream was entertaining from start to finish with moments of Fortnite gameplay followed by antics such as dancing in a chicken costume." said David Fraser, Director of Development at Gamers Outreach.
"Partnering with the Fortnite World champion has been incredibly impactful. Bugha provides us a platform to share our mission with a broader audience, and the generosity of his community has provided thousands of hospitalized children with access to gaming. We are looking forward to continuing to expand this partnership and generate new opportunities to support these kids," he added.
As Bugha continues to build all facets of his brand with VaynerSports, his initiative with Gamers Outreach will inspire future projects. Bugha plans to prioritize and incorporate his mission of making gaming more accessible for more kids into future partnerships.