Because XPRIZE is committed to accelerating a more positive future, the vision of a literate, educated, and empowered world is one that is shared by many in our XPRIZE family. We are immensely proud and incredibly grateful for the generous consortium of sponsors, thought leaders, and passionate experts who made this prize possible. Whether they hail from science, technology, education, energy, industry or business, all of our Global Learning XPRIZE benefactors recognize the immense value in empowering young minds everywhere. For now and for the future.
The Global Learning XPRIZE is funded by a group of donors including the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, the Econet Foundation, Scott Hassan, the Merkin Family Foundation, John Raymonds, the Anthony Robbins Foundation and Suzanne West.
Elon is the CEO & Chief Technology Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) which is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of access to space ultimately by a factor of ten. The company officially began operations in June 2002 and is located in the heart of the aerospace industry in Southern California.
SpaceX is the third company founded by Mr. Musk. Prior to SpaceX, he co-founded PayPal, the world's leading electronic payment system, and served as the company's chairman and CEO. PayPal has over twenty million customers in 38 countries, processes several billion dollars per year and went public on the NASDAQ under PYPL in early 2002. Mr. Musk was the largest shareholder of PayPal until the company was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002.
Before PayPal, Mr. Musk co-founded Zip2 Corporation in 1995, a leading provider of enterprise software and services to the media industry, with investments from The New York Times Company, Knight-Ridder, MDV, Softbank and the Hearst Corporation. He served as Chairman, CEO and Chief Technology Officer and in March 1999 sold Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million in an all cash transaction.
Mr. Musk's early experience extends across a spectrum of advanced technology industries, from high energy density ultra-capacitors at Pinnacle Research to software development at Rocket Science and Microsoft. He has a physics degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a business degree from Wharton and originally came out to California to pursue graduate studies in high energy density capacitor physics & materials science at Stanford.
Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation
Betsy and Dick DeVos are, respectively, chairman and president of the Windquest Group, an enterprise and investment management firm based in Michigan with diversified projects in technology, manufacturing, clean technology, and nonprofit solutions. Betsy is a national leader of school choice education reform. She was a presidential appointee to the board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and currently serves as a member of a number of local and national boards, including the American Federation for Children, ArtPrize, Kids Hope USA and the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Dick is the former president of Amway Corporation and the NBA’s Orlando Magic. In addition to business roles, he is an active leader in a wide range of initiatives in his local community of West Michigan, including Grand Action Foundation and West Michigan Aviation Academy. Dick and Betsy have been married for over 30 years and have seven children and two granddaughters. The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation serves as a catalyst for partner organizations that position communities for growth and viability.
Econet Wireless is a diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific.
Scott Hassan - Founder, Suitable Technologies
Scott Hassan created Suitable Technologies with the goal of redefining presence, by giving people the power to choose when and where to be present, regardless of geographic location. Prior to Suitable, Scott founded Willow Garage, combining his belief in open source technology and his passion for bringing robotics into everyday life. Scott has been a driving force behind some of the most influential Internet companies and projects. He was the founder of eGroups (now Yahoo! Groups) and was the key software architect and developer of Google, Alexa Internet and the Stanford Digital Library. Scott invests in start-ups that aim to make fundamental quality of life improvements for citizens around the world.
Merkin Family Foundation
Richard Merkin, has been the CEO and founder of the Heritage Group since 1979. Under his stewardship, the Heritage Group has become the largest, physician-owned and operated integrated delivery system in the United States with over 50 related healthcare companies. Dr. Merkin serves on the Board of the California Institute of Technology and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has established the Richard Merkin Foundation for Stem Cell Research at the Broad Institute at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Richard Merkin Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Brain Sciences Institute, and the Richard Merkin Foundation for Neural Regeneration at UCLA.
John Raymonds is currently the Manager, CIO of Raymonds Capital, LLC. His original background is in the rigid plastic packaging industry leading the successful growth of two private businesses - one domestic to the US and one in Europe. In addition to the legacy of core operating business units there is always a search for specific and unique direct investment opportunities. Recent work includes being the lead investor bringing back the Reading Rainbow brand at RRKidz.com as well as a founding partner at Bron Studios in Vancouver, BC. John served on the Board of Trustees for an NAIS school for 8 years and in his personal life self-development is always a point of focus. Mr. Raymonds believes in living a balanced life, focusing on family and friends, and where appropriate helping them to grow their own lives.
Anthony Robbins Foundation
Tony Robbins - Founder, Anthony Robbins Foundation
For over 30 years, Tony Robbins’ passion has been helping people break through and take their lives to new levels — no matter how successful they already are — in the areas that matter most: their businesses, personal finance, intimate relationships, families, careers and health.
Tony has received honors from the United Nations, Forbes, Accenture, American Express and Harvard Business School. As a peak performance strategist, Tony has helped over 50 million people from more than 100 countries transform their lives through his live events, books, audio programs, health products and personal coaching. What began as Tony's individual effort to feed families in need has grown into the nonprofit Anthony Robbins Foundation, which provides assistance to underserved youth, low-income families, senior citizens and the homeless. The foundation's International Basket Brigade provides baskets of food and household items for an estimated two million people annually in countries all over the world.
Suzanne West – President & CEO, Imaginea Energy
Imaginea Energy stands for Imagine A new way of doing business, a new way that involves lots of “AND.” As the President & CEO, Suzanne West is dedicated to changing the way we develop our oil and gas resources by generating sustainable profits that can do good in the world AND providing meaning and purpose to people so that we make a greater positive difference in the world AND doing it in a way that works with Mother Nature as a partner to provide better sustainability of this beautiful planet we inhabit. West is the former President of Black Shire Energy, Inc. and Auriga Energy, Inc., Chariot Energy, Inc., and Touchstone Petroleum, Inc.