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UMD Wins Awards for SPENT


Congratulations to Urban Ministries of Durham for winning two 2012 North American Effie Awards for:


  • SPENT in the category of Media Idea
  • SPENT in the category of Media Innovation


Receiving an Effie Award signifies your work was one of the most effective marketing efforts of last year, incorporating an insightful communications strategy, outstanding creativity, and the market results to prove it worked.  Effie entries go through two rigorous rounds of judging and a small percentage of entering cases emerge as winners.

SPENT challenges players to make it through the month on their last $1,000.  Changes in employment, housing, medical costs, and other expenses force the SPENT player to make difficult choices that often compromise the health, safety, or integrity of their families.  Unfortunately, this game is the reality for many of the 6,000 people who come to UMD each year because they have simply run out of options.


Developed by McKinney, a Durham-based advertising agency, SPENT was originally created as a way to engage new donors and volunteers for UMD.  However, SPENT has crossed all geographic, economic, and social boundaries.  Even educators and employers are using SPENT as an interactive lesson for their students and employees regarding financial literacy and social responsibility.


As expressed in the following comments from SPENT players, people from all over the world are finding SPENT to be a valuable tool for understanding how difficult and painful it is to live on the edge of losing everything:


“Thanks for drawing attention to the reality of what so many people face. There is a lot of need here too, but I hope you draw national attention to the issue of poverty and unemployment.” – Danette, Africa


“Playing this game has shattered how I view the privilege in my life, and increased my empathy and compassion for those who do not have to play a game to understand the hardships of life.” – Christina 


“It’s one thing to feel sorry for homeless people; it’s another to be forced into their shoes. ” – The Huffington Post


Play SPENT and see how this revolutionary game creates a new, tangible awareness of the struggles of 14 million Americans.