XPRIZE, Barbara Bush Foundation and Dollar General Literacy Foundation Announce Finalists, Award Milestone Prizes in $1 Million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition

Los Angeles, CA – XPRIZE, in partnership with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, today announced finalist teams, including recipients of its milestone prizes, in its $1 million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition.

With research showing that 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, the competition aims 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.

The Communities Competition continues the momentum of the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, which recently culminated with the announcement of two grand prize winners. In this second phase, the Communities Competition incentivizes 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. Each app demonstrated literacy gains in participating learners, who took a pre- and post-test in a 12-month field test in 2018.

“Low literacy is a silent crisis in this country—one that needs more attention, more voices, more resources and more ideas. We know that lack of opportunity, not lack of motivation, is what most often prevents adults from improving their literacy skills. That’s why we’re leveraging the power of technology to reach adult learners where they are—giving them more opportunities to learn where they live, work, pray and play,” said British A. Robinson, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. “The Communities Competition is a critical step in our ongoing efforts to improve outcomes by broadening the reach and deepening the impact of adult literacy learning resources.”

“Meeting individuals where they are, when they are ready to learn is powerful,” said Denine Torr of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. “The impetus of the Adult Literacy XPRIZE was to reach potential students who, for a variety of reasons, cannot attend classes at a typical brick and mortar location and to empower teachers to expand their capacity to serve. The Communities Competition allows us to provide free apps, which have proven results, to adults in rural communities to metropolitan centers across the country. Access to these apps place the power of learning at students’ fingertips at times when it is convenient for them. That’s exciting!”

During the competition, a total of $1 million will be awarded in two parts, with $500,000 available in milestone awards for teams that submit the most innovative, feasible and scalable plans, and a $500,000 prize purse for teams that go on to recruit the most adult learners to download and use the apps. An independent panel of judges determined the following 24 teams had the best proposals and will split the $500,000 milestone award:

  • 901Readers
  • Adult Literacy Partners of Houston
  • Cedar Riverside Adult Education
  • Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition
  • Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE)
  • El Refugio – The Refuge
  • Essential Education
  • First Book
  • Laundry Literacy Coalition
  • Lit 417
  • Lit Fit NEO
  • The Literacy Council of Central Alabama
  • Literacy Services of Wisconsin (MKE)
  • Makeosity, Inc.
  • National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA)
  • Napa Adult Literacy Alliance
  • North Texas Communities Competition Team
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • ProLiteracy
  • Queens Borough Public Library
  • Southeast Michigan Region 10 Adult Learner
  • Westchester Library System
  • World Education

“The Communities Competition is a one-of-a-kind effort to scale the impact of the Adult Literacy XPRIZE and transform lives through literacy,” said Shlomy Kattan, executive director of the Adult Literacy XPRIZE. “The passion, dedication and thoughtfulness of these competing communities is critical to reaching learners from diverse geographies and backgrounds. We have an array of teams, from educational institutions, to nonprofits, NGOs, government agencies, corporations, and individuals who are all critical to our goal of empowering adult learners to take learning in their own hands.”

All 46 teams that entered the Communities Competition will recruit adult learners and distribute the free learning apps through August 31, 2019. The grand prize winners will be announced in fall 2019.
For more information about the teams and the Communities Competition, visit and

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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 Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit

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

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 $160 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 10 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

Media Contact: Eric Desatnik, XPRIZE Communications,

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If you’re a member of the media or would like more information, you can reach Lauren Sproull, Vice President of Communications, at 850.562.5300 or