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X PRIZE to Draw Top Innovators, Entrepreneurs to Gala as Mission to Benefit Humanity Expands

LOS ANGELES--X PRIZE will launch a major fundraising campaign to support an expanded mission that will include a dozen new X PRIZEs to be announced in the next few years. A gala at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, on March 3, will kick off a $50 million drive that will support the development of new prizes and attract teams of innovators who will provide solutions for X (X equals a critical societal need). Google founder and X PRIZE board member Larry Page and a host committee of innovators and business and space luminaries that include Burt Rutan, Dr. Paul MacCready, Ben Goldhirsh, Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson, as well as actor John Cusack, have dubbed the event A Radical Benefit for Humanity. Artist Michael Israel and musician Rufus Wainwright will perform live.

The benefit will raise awareness within the upper echelons of the technology, research, engineering and investment communities of a dozen new prizes we will be unveiling in the next few years to encourage innovations in areas such as fuel consumption, water, medicine and more, noted Tom Vander Ark, president, X PRIZE. Gala guests are the people who know the research and those who can create important solutions the next X PRIZE team cheerleaders.

The mission of the X PRIZE is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity using a different philanthropy model based on competition.

Vander Ark notes, X PRIZE defines the problem, but not the path to a solution. The foundation changes how we think about the problem. Instead of raising money that may or may not lead to a solution, X PRIZE takes action by clearly defining the goal and providing the incentive for progress. The solution becomes imminent. The only question is when. This is a very different philanthropic model from genius or research grants or to honor past achievements, and we only award the prize when a team has met the criteria, regardless of how long it takes.

The Ansari X PRIZE, the first X PRIZE, inspired 26 teams from seven nations to compete in building the first privately-funded spacecraft. In the process, the teams spent a combined $100 million-plus on critical research and development in an effort to win the prize.

The X PRIZE philanthropy model is attractive to all entrepreneurs, especially those who have built technology companies, and venture capitalists who understand the motivations and energy required to achieve breakthroughs, Page said. It's important and symbolic that Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area play host to our first benefit.

With the Ansari X PRIZE, we leveraged $2 million of seed funding from the St. Louis community into a $10 million purse which directly resulted in the teams spending 50 times the initial investment on the project, said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. The impact is far greater than a direct donation because its always multiplied by a factor of X.

Bibi Kasrai, Head of Development and Campaign for X PRIZE notes the donors arent just funding a worthy cause through X PRIZE, theyre fueling their own hopes and dreams for mankind.

Peter Diamandis was the catalyst for this vision, and as a result private individuals ventured into space which was the monopoly of a few governments. The funds we raise today will enable new X PRIZEs that will open new frontiers to benefit society. That is why our benefactors are true mavericks and visionaries.

X PRIZE Foundation

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the worlds first private vehicle to space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since expanded to offer new prizes for breakthroughs in medicine, healthcare, energy production and consumption, education and the automotive industry. In October of 2006, the X PRIZE Foundation announced the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for genomics, which will reward the first private effort to map 100 human genomes in 10 days ushering in a new era of personalized preventative medicine. For more information, please visit or email