WeTopia, a new Facebook game from Sojo Studios, is now open to players who want to improve the real world while they nurture an online one.

Gamers build a WeTopia village, which rewards beneficial behavior like helping neighbors by adding the in-game virtual currency known as Joy to their accounts. It’s free to play, although the option is available to purchase Joy using Facebook credits. Gamers can then choose actual, non-virtual projects that will receive their Joy, in return for which they get pictures, videos and in-game messages to track their contributions.

This activity gets turned into real-world cash by Sojo Studios. It generates revenue through advertising and sponsorship as well as via players’ purchases of in-game goods, and it donates half of its net profits – never less than 20 percent revenue – to the designated charities. All Sojo Studios’ projects are executed in the field by 501(c)(3) nonprofit partners.

Save the Children is the primary charitable organization whose projects are part of the WeTopia project, in particular its literacy programs in Appalachian Kentucky and its efforts to bring education, meals and medicines to children in Haiti. Other recipients gamers can choose are the buildOn and Children’s Health Fund charitable organizations.

“Save the Children is thrilled to be part of Sojo Studios’ innovative approach to social gaming,” Carolyn Miles, president and chief executive officer of Save the Children said in a statement. “WeTopia will help build awareness about important social issues and give people a fun way to make a lasting difference for children in need. Thanks to Sojo, millions of people can become partners in the work we do each day.”

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