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BigLeap, with ThinkFun CEO Bill Ritchie & Neuroscientist Silvia Bunge, Launches 1st Crowd-Funding Challenge for Social Good

August 20, 2013 07:15 ET

BigLeap Launches First Crowd-Funding Challenge Platform for Social Good

First Challenge Aims to Give Children Everywhere Access to Free Games That Can Actually Make Them Smarter

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 20, 2013) - BigLeap, the world's first crowd-funding prize and reward network that allows passionate advocates to drive social change via competition-based challenges, today launched its first challenge: to make education more accessible.

 

BigLeap's first challenge is championed by Professor Silvia Bunge, a neuroscience and childhood learning expert at U.C. Berkeley, and Bill Ritchie, the CEO of ThinkFun games. The challenge will give children everywhere access to free games designed to improve their brain power by helping to develop their reasoning and logic skills via simple, interactive gameplay.

 

"There are millions of underprivileged students out there who don't have access to the best learning environments or tools in their schools today, and because of this gap these children are at a significant disadvantage: their reasoning and logic skills are lacking, they test lower on IQ and standardized tests and they don't master STEM basics -- all of which are key to future job success," says Bunge. "Several years ago my team at Berkeley ran a small study that incorporated ThinkFun games into a training program for a set group of students. The study showed that playing fun, off-the-shelf reasoning and logic games in a social group for 2-3 hours a week boosted these critical skills by over 30% and even boosted IQ scores by 10 or more points. That's huge!"

 

As exciting as the results of the study were, Bunge and Ritchie knew that in order to duplicate this type of after-school game program, schools would incur significant costs. Country-wide budget cuts eliminated programs like this as a viable option.

 

"We were fortunate to be introduced to Charlie and Victor's new platform, BigLeap. For a school to duplicate the gameplay from the study, the cost would have been prohibitive at $200 to $300 or more for a couple of sets of games," says Ritchie. "BigLeap will help us make these games accessible to kids across the U.S., no matter what their financial situation is. Silvia and I plan to raise $25,000 to fund a competition that will bring innovators from across the country together to develop the best game-based learning programs that can be made for free, using common household items and art supplies. We're excited to have a platform that can help us champion this challenge."

 

Challenges Create Change

"When Victor asked me to start BigLeap with him, I immediately said yes -- it's a clear opportunity to help people change the world. Incentive challenges and competitions with significant rewards or prizes have historically proven to inspire people to solve a problem and effect change," said Charlie Crystle, Co-Founder and CEO of BigLeap. "Unfortunately raising the money for rewards has been an obstacle, so only large organizations have used incentive challenges. But by crowd-funding the prize, change-makers don't need major sponsors anymore, just friends, family, and their social networks. Our platform will give them a powerful set of tools to get the brightest minds around the world solving important problems."

 

Each challenge posted on the BigLeap platform goes through five stages:

  1. Set The Target: Anyone with a passion for solving a problem (the "Champion") kicks off a Challenge to solve the problem.
  2. Raise Money: The Champion appeals to his or her network and BigLeap community members to crowd-fund a prize or reward for the Challenge.
  3. Mobilize Teams: Teams from around the world or around the corner come together to solve the problem.
  4. Compete: Many different teams working on a problem means increased innovation, creativity, and resources decked against it.
  5. Celebrate: Breakthrough! The problem is solved, the winning team(s) are rewarded, and the world is a better place.


"We're excited to help people around the world improve the lives of others," said Victor Cho, co-founder, BigLeap. "Whether it's bettering the lives of one person or one billion, we're confident that the BigLeap platform will significantly improve the way we as a society work to improve social issues."

Challenges of all sizes will be accepted as long as they bring meaningful improvement to someone's life. For more information on BigLeap please visit: www.bigleap.org.

 

About BigLeap

BigLeap is the world's first crowd-funding prize and reward network that allows anyone with a passion to drive social change do so through competition-based challenges. The BigLeap platform connects passionate advocates of social issues with the funding and resources needed to solve them in innovative new ways. Unlike other crowd-funding sites or traditional charities, BigLeap only distributes a reward or prize when a challenge has been successfully solved. Because contributors can opt to get their money back if a challenge isn't solved they are effectively guaranteed that their support dollars will have an impact.

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