If you visit the Humble Bundle website today, you can find the Humble Hope For Orphans Bundle. Humble's business model is to offer a bundle of games, for which punters can pay what they want and also choose to give a portion of that money to charity. The bundle, which rather oddly is full of angry war shooters, only lists one charity as an option for buyers to donate to: Change 30.
If you read the description of Change 30 on Humble's website, it is explained to be a charity that supports orphans in Russia, and that's about it.
Our mission is to inspire purpose in Russian orphans by providing them with the love, guidance & resources they need to lead fulfilling lives. Our heart is for the orphans of Russia to not only survive, but thrive.
Change30, a charity providing critical resources to orphans in need.
Proceeds from this bundle will help provide care, life skills coaching, and housing and education resources to young people who have been left without support systems.
However, if you do a little digging into the charity, there's a little more to it. While the Change 30 homepage just lists the charity as helping Russian orphans like the Humble page says, if you go to their About Us page, you'll see a slightly modified version of the charity description.
The mission of Change30 is to inspire purpose in Russian orphans by providing them with the love, guidance & critical resources they need to lead fulfilling lives & develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The fact that Change 30 doesn't put this information front-and-centre is something of an alarm bell – or certainly should have been. Either Humble is not aware of this key fact, and hasn't done due diligence on the charity it's donating money to, or has chosen to itself play along and obscure the charity's true purpose.
It's all very curious. If Change 30 is proud of its Christian mission, why is it hiding that fact? If Humble is happy to donate its proceeds to a Christian charity, why not be open about it? This matters because potential customers are not being given full information. It's fine to donate to Christian charities, if you know that's what you're doing, but many may feel that they'd rather support an orphan-focused charity that spent the money entirely on helping kids, rather than on trying to make them Christians. Change 30 uses church volunteers to staff their charitable trips, focusing on teaching Christian values. It also works with local churches in doing so, ie the Russian orthodox church, and some people may rather not support – however indirectly – an institution with such a pronounced anti-LGBT record.
The difficult aspect of this is that, whatever the rights and wrongs may be, it's hard to criticise any organisation that works with orphans – whatever the motivator may be. Nevertheless, people should be informed about any organisation they're sending money to and, on this occasion, Humble has not informed its customers – for reasons that remain unclear.
Kotaku UK submitted a number of questions to Humble Bundle prior to this article's publication. We will update this article with any response.
[Update - On January 18th, three days after our initial publication of this story, Humble responded with the following statement]
When we prepared the bundle page, we weren't aware of the charity's religious affiliation. To ensure that we're being as transparent as possible, we've updated the text on the bundle page. The new text is also pasted below:
Change30 is a faith based non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire purpose in Russian orphans by providing them with the love, guidance & resources they need to lead fulfilling lives.
Change30 builds relationships & trust with orphans through ongoing orphanage support, life skills classes, young moms programs, and partnership with volunteer mission teams. After orphans graduate from the orphanage, Change30 helps equip these young adults for life on their own through a variety of programs and a community of supporters.
Change30 provides free services to orphan graduates such as safe temporary housing, vocational training, and courses to learn basic life skills.Funding from Humble Bundle: Fundraising received through Humble Bundle will be used to fund orphanage support, life skills classes, young moms programs, temporary housing needs, and vocational training programs for orphans & orphan graduates in Russia.