Updated on August 29, 2019
In fiscal 2018, the Sony Group contributed approximately 2.5 billion yen*1 to community engagement initiatives. By category, approximately 50% of the expenditure went to supporting education, such as science education. The next highest area of expenditure went to contributing to local communities and emergency disaster relief.
By region, approximately 40% of the total expenditure was in Japan, followed by 33% in the United States and 16% in Mainland China and the Hong Kong region.
The Sony Science Program offers programs and workshops for children, who will shape the next generation, to gain skills for making the world a better place by applying the power of science. Sony held approximately 90 workshops in fiscal 2018, giving approximately 3,900 children the opportunity to create crafts and make inventions with Sony products and services. Also in fiscal 2018, Sony’s hands-on science museums in Tokyo and Beijing, called Sony ExploraScience, attracted some 270,000 visitors.*1
Sony also held a series of workshops in fiscal 2018 making use of MESH™*2 IoT blocks. These workshops took place in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Hong Kong region providing large numbers of children with opportunities to learn programming.
In an effort to address the educational inequality in Japan, Sony launched its Kando Experience Program in September 2018. In this program, Sony provides diverse kando (to move people emotionally) experiences aiming at developing creativity and curiosity to children who have had few such opportunities. The program focuses primarily on elementary school students and takes place after school, in rural districts and on remote islands. Making use of the Sony Group’s technologies and content, Sony partners with non-profit organizations and other outside groups to provide workshops in the STEAM*1 field. In 2018, Sony held the program at seven different elementary schools (after-schools), and it included workshops featuring programming by making use of MESH™ IoT blocks, experiencing different cultures using virtual reality (VR) technology Warp Square, and seminars utilizing the know-how of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., offering children the opportunity to make animation and learn how to perform a musical. At Kodomo Shokudo (children’s community diner), Sony offered programming experiences with MESH™ and science experiment demonstrations at three different locations. MESH™ workshops were also offered to five elementary school children in rural districts and remote islands as distance learning opportunities. In fiscal 2018, Kando Experience Program workshops took place in 15 locations, benefitting approximately 300 children in total.
Sony recognizes the refugee crisis as an important global issue and is working with Japan for UNHCR*1 to raise awareness. In addition to being a corporate sponsor of the UNHCR Refugee Film Festival in Japan since 2007, Sony has been holding sports activities and other events to raise awareness of refugee issues among Sony Group employees. In fiscal 2018, we held three events including in-house showing of films from the UNHCR Refugee Film Festival on World Refugee Day (set for June 20 by the United Nations General Assembly), and other fund-raising events attracting a total participation of some 130 employees in fiscal 2018. Donations made by Sony Group employees at these events go to Japan for UNHCR, which forwards the proceeds to UNHCR so it can be used for refugee protection and support measures.
Since 2017, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. (SIE) has been a sponsor of Girls Make Games (GMG), a game-making experience for young girls provided by LearnDistrict Inc., a firm based in the United States. With an eye on fostering the next generation of game designers, creators, and engineers, GMG holds game-making workshops and summer camps in various locations around the U.S. Approximately 20 girls who attend the three-week camp at the SIE campus in San Mateo, California, form into teams that develop and produce their own original games. At the end of the three-week camp, GMG holds a competition for the games which have been created that year. The winner of the competition in fiscal 2018 created a game about issues that children face at school and in their daily lives. Over the past year, the winning team has worked with professional game designers to make the full game ready for publishing. In fiscal 2019, SIE supported GMG workshops to be held in the United Kingdom for the first time, and also held workshops in cooperation with local game makers.
Since fiscal 2006, Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd. has sent its Lifeplanner life insurance consultants to junior high schools, high schools, and universities throughout Japan to conduct Life Planning Courses to allow students to experience financial planning for different life stages. These courses encourage students to describe their dreams and future plans and teach the importance of planning ahead and working hard to realize one's dreams. In fiscal 2018, Life Planning Courses were held at 174 schools and attracted a total attendance of 19,855 and over 1,300 employee volunteers served as instructors. Since 2006, the courses have been held at 1,377 schools and have attracted a total attendance of 147,805.
Sony Hong Kong has partnered with non-profit organizations to implement the “Unheard City Stories” project, which tells the stories of a range of initiatives undertaken in Hong Kong to assist youth facing various issues and help them to rebuild their lives. For example, to advocate for better understanding of problems affecting at-risk youth, such as drug addiction, Sony Hong Kong produced videos showing the process of young people's struggle to kick addiction and get their lives back on track. Sony Hong Kong also offered in-kind sponsorship, co-organized a fund-raising photo exhibition and supported hip hop dance competitions. Artists from Sony Music Entertainment Hong Kong were involved in some of the activities to maximize synergies. In addition to helping young people overcome difficulties and build confidence, these initiatives aim to motivate them to pursue their dreams.
Sony Foundation Australia runs a number of programs to provide support to children and youth in Australia suffering from severe illnesses and disabilities, who tend to receive insufficient social care, which causes isolation. An example is the Children’s Holiday Camp Program, which for the past 20 years has been providing respite care to family members and caretakers of children with disabilities while simultaneously giving the children an incredible holiday with student camp volunteers. The camps which run over four days, are hosted at schools and universities around the country. In fiscal 2018, there were a total of 28 camps where 1,150 high school student volunteers provided care for over 650 children with special needs. Many of the volunteers continue to help children with disabilities after the camps conclude, expanding the impact of the program into mainstream society. Artists from Sony Music Entertainment and well-known athletes also take part in the camps and interact with the children. In fiscal 2018, this program expanded beyond Australia and was also held in New Zealand for the first time.