XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, in partnership with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, announced the launch of the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE, a global competition challenging teams to develop mobile applications for adult learners that result in the greatest increase in literacy skills in just 12 months.
“A parent’s literacy level is a significant predictor of their child’s future educational success, influencing generations to follow,” said Barbara Bush, founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. “As I celebrate my 90th birthday today with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I am inspired and hopeful that this Adult Literacy XPRIZE will bring about a radical breakthrough to end the cycle of low-literacy in America and that my grandchildren will grow up in a country where education is abundant and accessible to all.”
“An estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. lack basic literacy skills, as do millions more around the world,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of XPRIZE. “Existing programs require classrooms and teachers and cannot possibly scale to meet the need of the millions of adults who need support. The Adult Literacy XPRIZE demonstrates a paradigm shift in how we approach adult learning globally, with educational applications that are effective, scalable and that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.”
“In partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is excited to support the Adult Literacy XPRIZE to help propel adult education into the 21st century and beyond. This initiative helps create smart, mobile solutions that take learners further and faster than they thought possible,” said Denine Torr, Dollar General’s director of community initiatives.
After a six-month team registration period, competing teams will have 18 months to develop their solutions. A panel of third-party expert judges will then select the top five teams to move on to the 12-month field-testing phase of the competition. The five finalist solutions will be tested with a minimum of 1,000 adult learners each (5,000 total), ages 18-64, who read at or below the equivalent of a third grade reading level.
The $4M Grand Prize will be awarded to the team with the best performance across all adult learners, over the 12-month field test. Bonus Prizes of $500,000 will also be awarded to the two teams with the best performance in each of the two key demographic groups: native English speakers and non-native English speakers.
Following the awarding of the Grand Prize and Bonus Prizes, cities across the U.S. will compete to encourage their adult learners to download and use the winning applications, using tailored education, marketing and outreach campaigns. A $1M purse will be split among all finalist teams that meet the minimum performance benchmark to advance to the Cities Competition. A $1M prize will be awarded to the city that encourages the greatest percentage of its adult learners to download and use any of the finalist solutions over a six-month period.