While some people voluntarily devote their lives to the common good of society, others need a little incentive to pitch in. And as the saying goes, money makes the world go round. The XPrize Foundation knows this better than anybody and has therefore been giving away millions in the hopes of solving some of the world’s biggest problems. As funding to NASA dried up, they ran a $10 million contest for the pursuit of personal spaceflight. They gave away another $10 million to the winners of a low-emission vehicle race. After the BP gulf oil spill, a $1 million dollar prize helped increase oil spill clean-up technology by 600%.

And now, recognizing that the rise of cheap tablet computing can revolutionize education in impoverished regions around the world. XPrize is giving away $15 million to whoever best develops a mobile app that can teach basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills to young children. By offering such a huge prize, the XPrize Foundation is hoping that the world’s best educators team up with innovative software developers to build apps that children without access to standard classroom teaching can use at their own pace, learning vital skills on a completely autonomous basis. The winning software solution will then be turned into an open source system, such that any developer or teacher can build their own improvements into the platform.

As with other XPrize competitions, wealthy benefactors have already provided the lion’s share of the prize money, but XPrize is now turning to crowdfunding in the hopes of adding another $500,000 to the prize total. If you contribute today, not only will your donation be matched, but you can receive some great rewards as well, including early access to the winning software program. Interested?
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