SOURCE: X PRIZE Foundation

X PRIZE Foundation

April 26, 2011 17:10 ET

The World's Top Innovators Gather as X PRIZE Foundation Raises Funds to Solve the World's Grand Challenges

Event Honors Long-Time Foundation Supporters James Cameron and Wendy Schmidt

PLAYA VISTA, CA--(Marketwire - Apr 26, 2011) - The X PRIZE Foundation, best known for launching the private spaceflight industry through the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE and accelerating the ultra, fuel-efficient vehicle market through the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, raised funds for future PRIZEs at an evening honoring James Cameron, the newest member of the X PRIZE Foundation's Board of Trustees, and Wendy Schmidt, sponsor of the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE for their fervent support of the Foundation's mission to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Sponsored by global biopharmaceutical company, Celgene, the event was hosted by James Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of FOX Filmed Entertainment, with additional support from multi-media production company, Moment Factory.

"Tonight we raised nearly $1 million to support our development of audacious X PRIZEs to address humanity's Grand Challenges," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. "Our goal is to leverage these funds to design $10 million X PRIZEs that will attract innovators around the world to solve problems that are currently 'stuck' without solutions."

The celebration was held during the organization's Visioneering Weekend at Fox Studios in Los Angeles on April 16 and 17, 2011, and brought together one hundred of the brightest innovators to develop ideas for solving some of the world's biggest challenges. The event was attended by leading engineers, scientists, innovators, entertainers and businesspeople. Musician inspired and entertained the crowd as guest D.J. for the evening.

Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron is a long-time friend and supporter of the X PRIZE Foundation. As an explorer himself, Cameron recently joined the Board of Trustees and has participated in previous fundraisers for the organization including a ZERO-G flight in which he and other X PRIZE VIPs shared the experience of weightlessness.

"You're here because you've been successful in life, you've figured out the code, you've followed your heart, you've followed your dreams, and you've figured out how to make your own destiny, not wait for it to happen to you," Cameron said to the crowd. "What you have is the ability, not only share that vision with the world, but to set those challenges to other people, and to leverage a thousand fold the innovative spirit and the passion and intellect that's out there, because that's what's going to get us out of this mess."

Wendy Schmidt, President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, also shared her passion about the work the X PRIZE Foundation is doing. The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE is a $1.4 Million competition designed to inspire a new generation of breakthrough technologies that will speed the pace of cleaning up ocean oil spills. This one year competition culminates this summer as teams vie to be the best at innovative ways of capturing oil from the surface of the ocean.

"Incentive prizes are absolutely the way to go. When government and industry are not succeeding, the X PRIZE Foundation brings philanthropic capital together to drive solutions, and as a philanthropist, that's what I'm always looking for," said Schmidt. "I am so thrilled to be here, and to be a part of the X PRIZE family, because it's exactly how I think change is going to happen."

The night's donors included Amir Ansari; Jack Bader; Dimitrios Balodimas; Michael Boustridge; Gigia Brisson; James Cameron; Dr. Sami S. and Mrs. Rena David; Michael Eastwood; Gil Elbaz; Richard Garriott; Jack Hidary; Asha Jadeja; Atul Jain; Naveen Jain; Norman & Lyn Lear; Dean Ornish; Charles Roberts; Paula Tallal; Kyriakos Tsakopoulos;; Will Wright; and Gillian Wynn.

The X PRIZE Foundation has scheduled its "Radical Benefit for Humanity" fundraiser for the fall. Co-chaired by Wendy & Eric Schmidt and Suzy & James Cameron, this event will be held on October 20, 2011, at the Regency Center in San Francisco. For more information or to purchase a table, please contact Meghan Murphy (


Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization solving the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration (Ocean and Deep Space). Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE CHALLENGE for advanced rocket development. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. For more information, visit

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  • Michael Timmons