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Grantoo Turns Gaming Skills Into Money for College

The company offers students a chance to use winnings to pay off student debt and also donate to charity



By Jaime Weinstein
Posted 2012

Grantoo Gaming Skills
Grantoo Gaming Skills

Have you ever gotten caught up in a social gaming situation where you start to bargain with yourself that you are going to play only one more game before making a hard stop?

If you answered, “Yes,” you aren’t alone. Like many others, you’ve probably made a second, third, possibly a 10th bargain to play “just one more” before you seriously need to make a hard stop to do something important like housework or studying.

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But what if you could take a social gaming situation and turn your procrastination into something useful like paying for college tuition or donating rewards to charity? Thanks to Grantoo, it’s all possible.

“Students are playing social games a lot so we want to make it useful to them by turning something that’s a distraction or a waste of time into something that’s positive,” Mikhael Naayem, co-founder of Grantoo, told Mashable.com

Grantoo Is Much More Than a Gaming Site Geared Toward College Students

Grantoo’s main function focuses on the games students play to earn grants that will go toward paying their tuition costs. However, in order to operate it needs sponsors. So, the website also has an advertising element like most other social gaming platforms.

This means there are site advertisers and tournament sponsors.

Site advertisers have their ads seen by the students while they are playing in a tournament. Grantoo’s terms and conditions make it extremely clear that buying something from an advertiser will not up your chances of winning.

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Tournament sponsors benefit from Grantoo because they are sponsoring a grant to be made toward a student’s tuition and aiding that student in contributing toward a good cause. The sponsor also gets the positive publicity of helping students and charities.

How Grantoo Works

On the Grantoo.org home page, you will find the days Grand Prize Tournaments are held, as well as a countdown clock announcing the amount of days, hours and minutes left until the next tournament will start in one of the three games currently available: Wordy Bird (think Scrabble); Grantoo Hold‘em (poker) and Quiz Night (trivia).

Each of the three available games represents a type of social gaming platform that already holds the attention of millions of people today. You can find games like these available on smart phone applications and Facebook. You can even play games through iGoogle’s personalized page options. So why not play to pay?

That’s exactly what the creators of Grantoo are hoping.

The hardest part for someone ­– next to winning a tournament – hopefully will be choosing the charity they want their winnings to go to, as well as designating how much they would like to donate. Depending on the type of tournament, prizes range from $75 to $5,000, while the minimum donation students can pledge is set at 10% and the maximum at 100%.

How to Enter, Play, Win and Donate in 5 Easy Steps

Let’s say someone named Jane has decided she wants to play on Grantoo. Here are the steps she would need to take.

Step 1: On Wednesday, Jane enters a Wordy Bird Grand Prize Tournament.

Step 2: She’s feeling generous and designates 50% of her winnings for charity.

Step 3: Jane chooses the charity/cause she’d like to receive the 50% donation of her winnings.

Step 4: Jane wins the Grand Prize Tournament and her prize is $2,400!

Step 5: Two checks will be issued on Jane’s behalf – one for $1,200 will go to Jane’s college, while the other will go to the charity Jane chose and the donation will be made in Jane’s name.

Grantoo May Eventually Expand to Include Non-Students

Currently, to participate in Grantoo’s tournaments you must be an enrolled student with good academic standing as defined by the dean of your college or university.

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If you aren’t a currently an enrolled student, but you have student debt either for yourself or a child, you’re probably wondering, “What about me?”

You aren’t alone.

After Mashable.com ran an article about Grantoo, this past April, one commenter said she’d like to play and earn for her child. And another said it would be great if Grantoo was open to people who are already out of school to help pay back existing student loans.

Although both scenarios are not possible at this time, there’s hope!

Sally Kallet, Grantoo’s Marketing Guru, responded to the article’s commenters about Grantoo’s eventual expansion saying, “We are hoping to expand in the next year to graduates who have loans to pay back as well.",/p>

She explained further, “We are starting small, but keep a lookout for us as we increase our user base! High school students and family members will be able to play eventually as well.”

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