Relay for Life 2011 in Second Life: Success Plus

I don’t usually just reproduce media releases, but this one’s definitely worth making an exception for:

Relay For Life of Second Life shatters records in 2011, raises US$375,000 for cancer research

Relay For Life, the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society, has once again shattered records in Second Life.

Less than halfway through the 2011 Relay season, the Relay For Life of Second Life had already raised more than one million dollars all-time.

At the Wrap-Up Party on Saturday, August 20, 2011 Event Chair MamaP Beerbaum proudly announced that the seventh Relay For Life of Second Life had set a new season fundraising record of US$375,000, had a record number of 140 teams, and a record number of over 3,000 relayers.

This year’s theme was ‘Seasons of Hope’ and was the largest to date, with a track lined by luminaria winding through 41 sims of amazing builds representing the different seasons. Some 2,140 avatars completed one or more laps, a combined total of 3,486 laps, and visited the campsites and the designer sims. And 4,817 luminaria were lit in support of loved ones going through treatment, and in memory of those heroes who have passed on.

Speaking to committee and team members and volunteers at the Wrap-Up Party, MamaP Beerbaum said: ‘WOW, What a wonderful Relay we had! From Kick-Off in March to Relay Weekend in July, you all worked non-stop, with a passion and commitment that never wavered!

‘As I think back on this season, I am in awe of so many things. We broke so many records. We took the theme ‘Seasons of Hope’ to places we never thought it would go. And we brought it to life on 41 sims creating a breathtaking experience for all who found their way there. And most importantly we proved that we really can work together as One Team!

‘Thank you for giving me the honor of being your chair. Thank you for showing the world that SL is a good place, and that in this Second Life of ours, we CAN make a difference.’

Stingray9798 Raymaker ( in real life Jeff Montegut, the American Cancer Society representative in Second Life) said: ‘It makes me the proudest person in the whole ACS office to represent the coolest people on the planet!’

Spirit of Relay

The ‘Spirit of Relay’ individual award went this year to Daaneth Kivioq. Announcing the award, last year’s winner Ember Farina said: ‘The Individual Spirit of Relay is awarded to the individual that embodies the ‘Spirit of the Relay’ and takes into consideration the ‘spirit’ of the individual, how they embraced Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society Mission, and the enthusiasm displayed.’

This year, just as Relay was kicking into high gear, Daaneth suffered a debilitating stroke. Ember said: ‘His motivation for a fast recovery was actually Relay for Life! He worried so much about his team that he came back in world before he could even read or type; they all used voice to communicate with him to ensure that the team would keep moving forward.’

Nevar Lobo, co-captain of last year’s winner of the ‘Spirit of Relay’ team award, announced this year’s team winner Team OD, followed by Steelhead Salmons in second place and Team Caledon in third place.

For a complete list of Wrap-Up Awards see:

For more pictures from the Wrap-Up Party see

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to 2012 MamaP Beerbaum announced that she would be continuing as Event Chair, supported by this year’s Co-Chair Dwen Dooley and new Co-Chair Nikki Mathieson. Nikki, who has been relaying in Second Life since 2007 and was this year’s Event Day area chair, said: ‘It is a tremendous honor to be invited to be a Co-Chair and I really look forward to the upcoming season.’ Her message to Relayers was ‘Keep relaying all winter… Do that by bringing someone… anyone… even if it’s just one person who doesn’t know about us… to ACS Island and let them know we’re here… in SL. Tell them about our RFL season and get them watching for that kick off in the spring… invite them to it… get them excited and enthused to jump onboard with us.’

The Kick-Off for RFL of SL 2012 will be on March 10, 2012. Next year’s theme will be ‘Time for a Cure’. And the clock is already ticking!

Nearly 400 thousand US dollars is nothing to sneeze at for cancer research. Kudos to the organising team for what’s become an iconic annual event in Second Life.

[Photo courtesy of Saeriah Thei]

Virtual worlds and social good: a striking example

Over the years of covering the virtual worlds industry, one of the highlights has been seeing grass-roots fundraising efforts. Using my own country of Australia as an example, significant amounts of money have been raised for the 2009 Bushfires and this year’s series of calamities in Queensland. There’s already planning under way for events to support those affected by the horrendous events in Japan over the past week and Linden Lab are doing their bit as well.

Add to that ongoing initiatives such as Relay for Life and you have a well-established means of making a difference. All of these examples come from Second Life, but at a wider level some serious initiatives are starting to see the light of day.

One such initiative is being driven by a leader in the social gaming sphere, Zynga. Creators of the (in)famous game Farmville amongst others, is devoted to raising money for worthy causes, using Zynga’s worlds as the vehicle. It marries two very powerful forces: virtual goods and a desire to help others. Using the current Haiti disaster as an example, 1.5 million dollars was raised and significant amounts are expected for the current tragedy in Japan:

Twelve hours after the earthquake struck, on Friday, March 11th, 8pm pst, Zynga launched in-game initiatives that made donations possible across a number of our most popular games, including: CityVille, FarmVille, Zynga Poker, FrontierVille and Words with Friends. Vampire Wars is now live with a campaign, as well, and YoVille and FishVille will soon launch theirs.

The impetus for doing non-profit work is always multi-faceted. Aside from the obvious aspect of being community-minded, most companies also know the good PR such activities draw. The huge number of social virtual world users is an obvious area where demonstrating good corporate citizenship is increasingly important. Zynga because of its size has drawn some substantial criticism over some aspects of its games / worlds, and initiatives like this help balance the equation a little.

Queensland Flood Relief in Second Life

Two years ago, a number of Second Life vendors got together to raise funds for the Victorian Bushfire victims. Thanks to another bunch of dedicated people, coordinated by Brisbane-based Kat Johnston, there are a range of things you can do to raise money for the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.

It’s all under the banner of Extend A Helping Hand (EAHH), and there’s two large ways to make a difference:

1. Attend some of the great events planned, including a 24-hour concert featuring Australian artists on Australia Day (26th Jan)

2. Go shopping at the EAHH Market, which has an enormous range of items you can buy, with most contributing 100% to the appeal – the lowest ratio was 75% on a handful of items. There’s some top notch fashion, house items and body shapes for starters – you can view a list of vendors here.

At time of writing nearly 1.2 million Linden Dollars had been raised – around US$4,500, with the bulk of events still to come. So if you can, jump in and check it out for yourself in-world.

If you’ve got your own fundraising activities organised, post a note about it in comments!

Copenhagen, climate change and Second Life

copenhagen1-smlUnless you’ve avoided all news over the past year or so, you’ll have heard about the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, which starts on the 7th December and runs through to the 18th December.

OneClimate, auspiced by Non-profit organisation OneCLimate, has created Virtual Copenhagen a large exhibition space in Second Life. Aside from the numerous exhibitions (some are listed below), the presence will be streaming content from Copenhagen plenary sessions, press conferences and “voices from the global south that might not otherwise be heard”. Aside from the streaming aspect, those attending in Second Life will have the opportunity to put questions to people being interviewed by the broadcasters in Copenhagen.

I spent half an hour walking around the exhibits and there’s certainly plenty of interesting information to be digested. There are some exhibition spaces remaining (contact Coughdrop Littlething in-world if you’re interested). For more details on the Second Life activities, teleport there yourself or check the OneClimate website.


Exhibitor listing

All but the last two listed below will have staff representatives in-world:

Beta Business Park, HeatSaver Energy Systems Inc, SmarterEarth (working in with the University of Iowa), Commonwealth Islands, NOAA, Virtual Native Lands, V-Innovate, European Metaverse Association, Public Policy Virginia, L’Ultimatum Climatique, Better World – Center for Water Studies, Human Mosaic Systems, The Institute for Sustainable Communication, Four Bridges, Peace Train, Etopia, ViO, State of the World Forum and The Transition Network.

Once the real-workd discussions fire up in December, it’ll be interesting to see what impact the Second Life aspect will play. Virtual Copenhagen is certainly well resourced and organised: whether it can cut through the enormous level of activity that’ll be occurring remains to be seen, but OneClimate certainly won’t die wondering with their efforts.

Check it out in-world

Lions CLub and Second Life

lionsclub The Lions Club has 1.3 million members across more than 45 thousand clubs worldwide. A secular organisation, its mission is to “empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs”.

The latest club being proposed will be located in Second Life, with official endorsement by the Lions organisation. Two information meetings are being held on the 5th August at 9am and 6pm Second Life time (2am and 11am on the 6th August AEST), at the current Lions Club presence in-world. If you’re after more information, contact Simba Jaggernov or Piratelionecu Humphreys in-world.

I don’t think I’m alone in my admiration for the work Lions do in local communities and it’ll be fascinating to see what this club will be able to do.

A Second Life success story: NCI

It has been in Second Life for four years (having just celebrated its fourth anniversary), has over 150 staff, costs about US$13,000 each year to operate, holds 46,592 square metres of Second Life land (and rents quite a bit more), and is among the virtual environment’s most well-trafficked organizations.

It isn’t one of those corporate sites you read about, though. It’s a non-profit group, with little existence outside of Second Life. It’s NCI, a volunteer organisation that ranks among the most successful groups in Linden Lab’s virtual world.


NCI’s basic mission is to assist and support newcomers to Second Life. Originally founded by Brace Coral in April 2005, Coral named the organisation New Citizens Incorporated (though the ‘incorporated’ part was merely in jest), and founded it on the principle that everyone in Second Life was able to contribute to the orientation and support of new users. Even those with only a few days of experience would have answers and information that newer users lacked.

Originally a self-help facility with social events and a building sandbox, the scope of NCI was already expanding by the time Carl Metropolitan took over as executive director in a popular vote in September 2005, when Brace Coral scaled back her Second Life activities.

With Metropolitan at the helm of the organization, NCI expanded significantly both in land and personnel, offering large numbers of classes and events, funded by advertising and donations, and standalone ‘aid stations’ called Infonodes scattered all over Second Life near areas where new users are likely to be found. NCI’s financial picture isn’t always a rosy one, however.

Advertising and donations don’t quite meet the operational bills each year, usually falling about US$1,500 short, which necessitates periodic fundraising activities to make up the shortfall, often in the form of charity auctions. NCI’s charity fundraisers are supported by quite a number of Second Life creators, as well as some corporations, such as Microsoft who donated software to the last big fundraising auction.

In an environment where users only have a limited number of group memberships available, NCI’s free-to-join group sports nearly 9000 members at present, and provides round-the-clock live-help for new users with questions and queries.

The NCI’s watch-words are civility, respect and courtesy, but maintaining a safe space for new users, protected from those who would exploit them or intentionally disrupt or harass them isn’t easy. NCI maintains strict rules of conduct, and enforces them swiftly when staff feel that new users may become upset or disturbed by the actions of a disruptive or abusive visitor. Indeed, one of the main pillars of NCI’s popularity is swift and strong enforcement of local conduct rules.

Keeping an organization like NCI running isn’t an easy job either. While class instructors and event hosts recieve payments from the organisation for their duties, nobody is getting a wage from the process. Senior staff can be under tremendous amounts of pressure. In the wake of NCI’s 4th anniversary celebration on 18 April, executive director, Carl Metropolitan decided that he needed a sabbatical, partly from the daily pressure of work, and partly due to unavoidable circumstances related to the USA’s economic downturn.

Presently, a new interim management team are settling in, with Afon Shepherd and Gramma Fiddlesticks cooperatively managing the organisation until Metropolitan’s return to duty. That NCI works at all is something of a surprise, being an expensive operation, with so many people from all walks of life, from most of the countries in the world, bonded primarily only by the willingness to help others and to donate their spare time.

NCI does work, however, and it works well. If you’re new to Second Life, it’s one of those must-visit places.


NCI Major Locations

Metaverse Aid

Late last year I wrote on Metaverse Aid, which is a team on the Kiva website.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to encourage anyone involved with virtual worlds to join the Metaverse Aid team and make a real difference to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Each loan is just that, a loan, and you can reinvest the amount paid back in another entrepreneur.

Read more about Kiva and Metaverse Aid here.

Italian Earthquake Benefit in Second Life

I won’t embellish this announcement from Australian Second Life resident, Rebelmuum Slade, on a fundraiser being held tomorrow morning at 6am AEST (1pm SL time):

When disaster strikes the global community of SL unites in love and acts fast.

One of the wonders of this marvellous community is the closeness of people from all over the globe.

Last week our Italian friends were shocked by an earthquake that killed many too many and left so many more homeless and injured. The Phoenix Wave Mentors decided to put on a benefit to help those in need.

The following invitation recommends making donations directly to the Red Cross. For those who want to donate lindens or bid at the auction on the day we will dedicated jars with one person responsible for ensuring all lindens are givne to the Italian Red Cross.

Should you wish a deeper look at this wonderful story of love across the oceans, Ghost Trefoil is the benefit Co-ordinator and Ghost Ulich is the founder of Phoenix Wave Mentors.

Please pass this invitation to your groups and help us to help others in need. AND of course we would love to see you there!

We have a wonderful line up of entertainers who donated their talent to organise and entertain, who gave items or selves for auction 🙂

1pm – Rush Parkin – opens with his new special song and then conducts the first auction
2pm – dune burt (Italian DJ) entertains and leads the way to the second auction
3pm – 5pm : Alexdancemusic (Italian DJ) Takes us through to the end and hosts the next 3 auctions

Some auction items – auctions will occur just after each hour:

– 2 hour personal modelling lesson and a professional portfolio,
– 2 weeks on the beach in a lovely little (SL) holiday house.
– A 2-hour PG date with Ghost Ulich
– 2 hour personal tour with author of star journey Richard Geer. Plus a copy of the ebook
– A 2 hour PG date with Rebelmum Slade
– Personal styling indulgence with lillyanne lewsley ( new skin, shape, clothes, eyes, etc )

5.30pm Total Lindens raised announced – reciept from Italian Red cross will be posted in PW notices

Cheers Rebelmuum Slade

Relay for Life in Second Life: teams being formed

A yearly highlight in Second Life is the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The 2007 and 2008 events were big successes, with more than 55 million Linden Dollars (approximately 200 thousand US dollars).


Teams have started forming and if any Australian or New Zealand teams are forming, do let us know and we’ll promote your fundraising efforts. The team registration form can be found here.

The Australian Relay for Life is a superb community event for a lot of towns and cities. The Second Life version achieves that same community vibe and it’s an opportunity to remember those lost to cancer, to support those currently fighting cancer and to help find more effective treatments for cancers.

Thanks to SL Entrepreneur Magazine for the heads-up.

Victorian Bushfire support continues in Second Life

Across the Second Life grid, fundraisers continue to occur for the victims of the Victorian bushfires. Tonight I heard about a fundraiser occurring at Bringiton’s Music Hall of Fame.


Australian owner Bringiton Paine is hoping to raise up to half a million Linden Dollars overnight, so if you’ve got some spare time and want to have a dance, join the party and make a donation. There were more than 40 people having a good time when I jumped in, including a significant proportion from Austria, Germany and France to name a few. Another example of grass-roots fundraising at its best.

Don’t forget there’s a growing list of Second Life vendors selling goods to raise money for the cause.

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