Helping Hands is the corporate giving arm of PokerStars, the lead brand of The Stars Group. It brings our players and staff together to give back to our local and global communities and make a positive change.
Since its launch in 2013, Helping Hands has contributed more than $8 million to a wide range of charities, big and small, all over the world. Here, you can read about some of our longer lasting relationships and charity partnerships.
Right to Play
Right To Play uses sport and play to educate more than one million children living in some of the world’s poorest communities across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Their approach is simple and effective: if learning is fun then children are better able to absorb lessons.
Specially designed games are designed to teach vulnerable children critical life skills such as leadership and self-confidence, how to protect against disease and how to resolve conflicts without violence. As children learn and develop, they pass these skills on to other Right To Play members, often going on to become Right To Play coaches themselves. In 2015 Helping Hands partnered with Right To Play and in 2016 took our total commitment to the charity to more than £1 million. In 2017, we extended this partnership for a further two years, providing Right To Play with additional funding of £600,000 and helping to ensure lasting change.
Since 1945 CARE has worked around the world to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. The charity was founded in the United States to provide CARE packages to the millions of Europeans in danger of starvation after World War II. Today, it fights hardship and injustice in more than 80 countries, providing disaster relief wherever it’s needed and helping millions to find routes out of poverty.
For years, our players had demonstrated a desire to give back in times of emergency. This partnership galvanised their support and gave us a chance to work with an emergency relief partner with the experience and infrastructure necessary to put those funds to work. Helping Hands and CARE announced our partnership in 2013 and shortly afterwards called upon our staff and players to assist in an emergency appeal for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The results were humbling. In just 48-hours, more than $100,000 was raised. After two weeks that figure had reached $280,000, which was then matched to $560,000. To date, total funds raised for various global CARE appeals stands at $1.1 million. The generosity of our players and staff in times of crisis is something we’re very proud of.
Prostate Cancer UK
More than 10,000 men die every year from this male only disease and 330,000 men are living with prostate cancer in the UK. Statistically speaking, more than 250,000 UK registered players stand to be affected by the disease. Prostate Cancer UK has a simple ambition: stop men dying from prostate cancer. They aim to achieve this by shifting the science over the next 10 years to focus on radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and support.
In 2015, PokerStars and Helping Hands launched Lads Night In, an annual one night poker event which brings friends together at the poker table in the fight against prostate cancer. We even changed the Isle of Man to the ‘Isle of Men’ for the day. All across the UK, men and women of all ages get together to play cards and have some laughs. At the end of the evening, prize pools from friends all over the country are donated to Prostate Cancer UK.
Autism Speaks New Jersey
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organisation. Founded in 2005, it is dedicated to funding research into the causes of autism as well as methods for its prevention and treatment. Through chapters all over the world, the charity aims to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks has committed more than $570 million to its mission since the charity was first established, the majority to scientific and medical research, and PokerStars NJ is proud to play its part.
In 2016, through Helping Hands, we donated $100,000 to support the New Jersey chapter of Autism Speaks during Autism Awareness Month in April. To mark Autism Awareness Month, PokerStars also joined thousands of iconic buildings, landmarks, businesses and homes across the globe as they united in shining bright blue lights to reflect the Autism Speaks colours. We added our support by changing our famous red spade to blue.
Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. They have saved millions of lives by discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, and the survival rate has doubled over the past 40 years thanks to the pioneering work they carry out. Their aim over the next 20 years is to reach at least 3 in 4 people beating cancer.
In 2013 PokerStars was invited by Cancer Research UK to send a team of programmers to join others at the GameJam event in London as part of its Citizen Science Project. Within a few months we had helped to develop and funded a new mobile gaming app that gamifies real cancer data analysis and helps researchers find genetic clues about cancer. ‘Play To Cure: Genes in Space’ was a huge hit, helped more than 280,000 citizen scientists to analyse over 2.6 million pieces of genetic data and marked the beginning of a long-term relationship with the charity. Since then, our players, staff and even PokerStars Team Pros have become keen advocates of the charity, taking part in national and community events and raising vital funds. Players can also donate directly to Cancer Research UK via the PokerStars software.