This video, and this post, is PART 2 of today’s Kickstarter update! I’m pleased to announce that, thanks to the success of the card game campaign, we will be entering into a partnership with 826LA, the nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids (mentioned in our last post — save the date for our June 2nd event at 826LA Mar Vista!).

826LA is my local chapter of 826 National, which operates tutoring centers and jokey storefronts in many cities nationwide. Perhaps you’ve seen the Pirate Store in San Francisco, or the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.? That’s 826 Valencia and 826NYC, respectively. Similarly, 826LA operates two Time Travel Marts in Los Angeles, where you can come to buy dodo chow, robot emotions, and famous last words. You can also buy books and normal things too! Proceeds from the stores support the tutoring centers, which are absolutely free of charge to local schools and individual students.

From their official mission statement (or watch the video for more info on their programs):

826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

With this in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications.

All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.

I’m a huge fan of the work that 826 does, and when it became clear that we had an opportunity to help support them, I leapt at the chance. I wanted to announce this partnership earlier, but after we shot the second half of the video above (the part in the Time Travel Mart), I double-checked Kickstarter’s guidelines on charitable donations, and an inquiry to their staff verified that even touching the subject is completely prohibited in every way. I understand this — you don’t want someone on Kickstarter claiming that some percent of their earnings will go to a nonprofit, and soliciting donations that way, when there is no way to hold them accountable that the donation will actually be made, or that the nonprofit even exists.

But in a practical sense, it meant that we couldn’t announce this partnership mid-campaign — even now, still, we can’t mention it on Kickstarter itself. Here was my hilarious attempt to figure out a way to still share the info:

As you can see, the effort wasn’t entirely wasted — it did inspire the GOAT STARE backer tier, which five brave individuals gladly took advantage of! AND THE WORLD IS BETTER FOR IT.

The bottom line, though, is that now that the pledge money has left Kickstarter and made its way to us, we can do what we want with it. And one thing we want to do is the following!


Mid-campaign, I announced two MYSTERY STRETCH GOALS, at $382,600 raised and at 8260 backers. THEY ARE THE FOLLOWING:

$382,600 RAISED : We will donate a dollar for every game sold during the Kickstarter to 826LA. That turned out to be 10,938 games (across physical and digital copies both). We’ll round that up — so thanks to your kind support of our project, 826LA will be receiving a cash donation of $11,000!

8260 BACKERS : We will donate Machine of Death product (books + games) to 826 stores nationally at no cost, for them to sell and raise money for their tutoring programs!

In addition, starting in June, we’ll be creating special 826LA-themed Black Market Gift Cards, and those will be included free with all orders made from the Time Travel Mart online store (perhaps for a limited time or while supplies last, we’re not sure on the details yet).

We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to support the great programs offered by this fantastic nonprofit. Machine of Death as an entity owes its entire existence to writers, so to be able to encourage kids in their creative writing and help them in school is in the best interest of not just them and the culture at large, but also us — we want more writers to write for Machine of Death Volumes 10-100! SO THIS IS FUNDAMENTALLY A SELFISH ACT.

For more information (the centers are always in need of volunteers, interns, and of course attendees at their cool events and workshops):

826LA : Donations | Events | Wish List | Online Store
826 National : Locations nationwide | Storefronts