Official Roster of Teams and Advisory Board Announced in the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE

Over 100 Teams in the Running; World’s Leading Education Technology
and Policy Experts Will Advise Global Competition to Empower Adult

the world’s leader in designing and managing incentive competitions to
solve humanity’s grand challenges, today announced 109 teams from 15
countries competing for the $7M
Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE
presented by the Dollar
General Literacy Foundation
. This global competition challenges
teams to develop mobile software for adult learners that result in the
greatest increase in literacy skills. An Advisory Board of eight leading
experts in the fields of adult literacy, education technology and
government policy, also announced today, will advise the Adult Literacy

The Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE launched in June 2015
to address the educational, economic and social obstacles to solving the
Grand Challenge of adult low literacy by proving the feasibility of
autonomous mobile learning for some of the most underserved members of
society. Among competing teams are leading education technology
companies, top-tier academic institutions, non-profits, newly founded
startups, and teams formed by middle and high school students.

“These teams and our Advisory Board represent an exciting mix of talent
with expertise in both education and technology,” said Shlomy Kattan,
senior director of prize operations at XPRIZE. “The engagement from such
a broad group of individuals is a testament to the importance of this
prize and its potential to positively impact the world.”

“These innovative technology solutions have the potential to change the
lives of the 36 million Americans—90 percent of whom are parents—who
struggle with low-literacy,” said Liza McFadden, president and CEO of
the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. “Nearly two-thirds of
Americans are now smartphone owners, and among those with relatively low
income and educational levels, younger adults are very likely to be
smart phone-dependent. This will give us the opportunity to put
educational tools directly into their hands.”

Competing teams have until December 2016 to turn in their final
submissions. Up to 15 of those submissions will be selected by an
independent judging panel to participate in a field test with thousands
of adult learners in three cities across the United States.

The $3M Grand Prize will be awarded to the team with the best
performance across all adult learners, over the 12-month field test. Two
$1M Achievement Prizes will also be awarded to the two teams with the
best performance in each of the two key demographic groups: native
English speakers and English language learners. All five final teams
will share an additional $500,000 in prizes, while another $500,000
prize purse will be split among all finalist teams that meet a minimum
performance benchmark.

Following the awarding of the Grand Prize, cities across the U.S. will
compete to encourage their adult learners to download and use the
winning applications. 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.

In addition to the competitor pool, the Adult Literacy XPRIZE announced
the formation of an Advisory
of academic and industry experts. The Advisory Board includes:

  • Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, the former Assistant Secretary for Career,
    Technical, and Adult Education at the United States Department of
  • Michael Horn, co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton
    Christensen Institute;
  • Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., the Audrey G. Ratner professor in
    Learning Development at Yale University and co-director of the Yale
    Center for Dyslexia & Creativity;
  • John Danner, co-Founder and CEO of Zeal Learning;
  • Dr. Karen D. Lincoln, associate professor in the USC School of Social
    Work and director of the USC Hartford Center of Excellence in
    Geriatric Social Work;
  • Mari Riddle, former president and CEO of Centro Latino for Literacy;
  • Dr. Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D., the Charles and Helen Schwab professor
    in Dyslexia and Learning Development at Yale University and
    co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity; and
  • Emily Dalton Smith, strategic partnerships manager for Social Good at

“Education technology can propel adult education further than we’ve ever
imagined,” said Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, former Assistant Secretary for
Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the United States Department
of Education. “I am proud to participate in an XPRIZE that sparks
necessary innovation and investment in the power of literacy to
transform lives today and for generations to come.”

For more information, visit
and read Shlomy Kattan’s latest blog post here.


Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world’s
Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile,
incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy &
Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes
include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE,
the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, the
$7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE and the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. For
more information, visit

About the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is the nation’s leading
advocate for family literacy. Founded by former First Lady Barbara Bush,
the mission of the Foundation is to advocate for and establish literacy
as a value in every home. The goals of the Foundation are simple: We
want children to start school ready to excel and help parents improve
their literacy skills. Mrs. Bush’s guiding belief was simple – if you
helped a person learn to read, their opportunities in life were endless.
To learn more about the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s
commitment to promote family literacy in homes across America, please

About the 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 Dollar General Literacy Foundation has
awarded more than $110 million in grants to nonprofit organizations,
helping nearly six million individuals take their first steps toward
literacy or continued education. For more information about the Dollar
General Literacy Foundation and its grant programs, visit


Eric Desatnik, 310.741.4892
Wei, 310.741.4918