First-of-its-kind competition to transform the lives of 36 million adult learners in the United States comes to a close as Houston-based team takes top prize
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, XPRIZE, the global leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges — along with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation — celebrated Adult Literacy Partners of Houston as one of the winners in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition, a national competition challenging communities and organizations across the country to empower adults with low literacy skills to download and use free mobile learning tools.
The Communities Competition is the second phase of the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, which culminated in February 2019 with the announcement of two grand prize winners. The Communities Competition incentivized organizations, communities and individuals to recruit adult learners to download and use the apps developed by four of the finalist teams in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE, which challenged teams across the globe to develop apps for existing smart devices that result in the greatest increase in literacy skills among participating adult learners.
In the latest phase, competitors across three tiers competed to have the largest number of participants download an app and subsequently use the app on at least three separate days, including the day on which they downloaded the app. To win its tier, a team must first attain the minimum threshold of participant downloads for the tier in which it is competing.
During the Communities Competition, a total of $800,000 was awarded in two parts, with $500,000 in milestone awards awarded to 24 finalist teams in April and a $300,000 prize purse that will be split between the teams that went on to recruit the most adult learners to download and use the apps.
After carefully reviewing the final data, the judges declared Adult Literacy Partners of Houston as the Tier 3 winner and recipient of $50,000.
“On behalf of the Adult Literacy Partners of Houston, we would like to thank XPRIZE, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy for the opportunity to participate in advancing literacy for adults,” said Jackie Aguilera, Adult Literacy Partners of Houston team member and EastSide University president and CEO. “This competition brought our literacy providers and supporters together in the common cause of providing life changing tools to those whose lives are changed by the services we provide. Competition gave birth to collaboration, and that collaboration has fostered a new phase of adult education for the City of Houston – providing 21st century solutions to the literacy epidemic in this country.”
“For both our Adult Literacy XPRIZE and our Communities Competition, local organizations and communities have played a key role in building and distributing these game-changing technologies,” said Shlomy Kattan of XPRIZE. “We’re excited to award and celebrate these teams for the impact they have had in their respective communities, and are looking forward to working with other communities across the world to encourage the use of these apps and ultimately transform the lives of millions of adults who currently lack basic reading skills.”
With research showing that 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the $1M Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition aim to dramatically change the way the U.S. meets the needs of the 36 million adults with low literacy skills, by tackling the largest obstacles to achieving basic literacy — access, retention and scale.
“Winning this competition is proof that there is strength when organizations stop working in silos and join forces directed toward a common mission — for us that has been to ensure that every adult in our city is able to read, write, and comprehend,” said Pete Zagone, Adult Literacy Partners of Houston team lead and ESL & Citizenship program manager at Memorial Assistance Ministries.
“We are proud to partner with the XPRIZE Foundation, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and these winning teams to increase access to educational resources for students at times that are convenient to their lives,” said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. “We look forward to advancing the learnings from the Adult Literacy XPRIZE and Communities Competition to explore new ways to uplift and empower teachers and students for success.”
“The Adult Literacy XPRIZE was our first big idea — a global call to action to engage the best and brightest minds out there in creating solutions to one of the great solvable problems of our time,” said British A. Robinson, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. “We’re invigorated by the work the teams and communities have undertaken, and looking forward to continuing this innovation into the future.”
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit xprize.org.
About Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has been the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy for three decades. The Foundation was established by former First Lady Barbara Bush in 1989, inspired by her vision of fostering the opportunity for every man, woman, and child to secure a better life through literacy. Today, the Foundation is a public charity that remains committed to Mrs. Bush’s vision, providing innovative programs and services to ensure that every American has the opportunity to learn to read and write. To learn more, visit www.BarbaraBush.org.
About Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $172 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 11 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, visit www.dgliteracy.org.