InnoCentive and The Community Foundation of North Louisiana Launch Challenge to Create a Community of Successful Readers

By Wazoku

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WALTHAM, Mass. – January 31, 2011 – InnoCentive, Inc., the global leader in Challenge Driven Innovation, today announced it has issued a Challenge with The Community Foundation of North Louisiana seeking innovative ways to increase literacy in the region by improving reading proficiency in elementary school children.

The Foundation serves a region of Louisiana with a high poverty level and low high school graduation rates. For the 2008-2009 school year, only 62 percent of high school age children who entered ninth grade four years earlier graduated. The Foundation Challenge aims to improve these rates by starting at the elementary school level. The goal of this Challenge is to ensure that by 2014, 95 percent of children are reading at or above grade level by the time they reach third grade. According to the National Research Council, “academic success, as defined by high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone’s reading skill at the end of third grade. A person who is not at least a modestly skilled reader by that time is unlikely to graduate from high school.”

The Challenge is open to participants from any discipline or background, and runs until February 28th, 2011. After a review of all submissions, the winning solution will be published and available for real-world implementation. There will be a total of $5,000 in awards given, with no award being smaller than $1,000.

This Challenge represents a growing trend of organizations using Challenge Driven Innovation to solve problems related to education. In the past year, InnoCentive has worked with the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to increase parental involvement in their children’s education, and with The Economist to design a plan for a 21st century “CyberSchool.” Both Challenges have been successfully awarded and the solutions are in the implementation phase.

Paula Hickman, executive director of The Community Foundation says: “Assuring educational attainment, especially graduation from high school, is critically important to the success of our communities. It affects not only the individual, but also their family, their local community and our nation.

“By increasing the number of children who are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade, we expect to increase the number of children graduating from high school. We are looking to InnoCentive’s far-reaching network of creative, clever problem solvers to help us achieve this goal.”

“The Community Foundation of North Louisiana is focused on alleviating poverty through education – something we believe in strongly at InnoCentive. If our global Solver community can bring a solution to light, everyone benefits,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “There are so many communities around the world grappling with these issues – the potential implications of a solution to this Challenge are impossible to quantify.”

About InnoCentive, Inc.

InnoCentive is the global leader in Challenge Driven Innovation that bridges the gap between great ideas and actual solutions to drive measureable results. Recognized as an open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer, InnoCentive’s proven methodology, expanding global network of creative and passionate problem solvers, and cloud-based technology platform enable organizations to tap all potential sources of innovation – employees, customers, partners, and InnoCentive’s unmatched Global Solver Community – to accelerate their pace of innovation and evolve into true Challenge Driven Enterprises. Leading commercial, public sector, and non-profit organizations such as Eli Lilly, Medtronic, NASA,, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to help them solve their most pressing problems and challenges.

About The Community Foundation of North Louisiana

Established in 1961, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s mission is to strengthen communities through philanthropy. By bringing together fund donors, their financial advisors and nonprofit agencies, the Foundation is a powerful catalyst for building charitable giving and effecting positive change in our area. Through the generosity and vision of our family of donors, both past and present, the Foundation has granted nearly $40,000,000 to vital nonprofit organizations since our inception. In our shared endeavor to build a more robust, vibrant community, we fund a variety of critical initiatives, including education, health, arts and culture, and poverty alleviation. Through integrity and sound financial practices, the Foundation has successfully stewarded the philanthropic interests of past donors and is poised to lead the next generation of givers to address the challenges facing our region.

For more information contact:

Margo Shideler
Director of External Relations
The Community Foundation of North Louisiana

Connie French
InnoCentive Marketing Director

By Wazoku

Wazoku is an innovation SaaS business that helps some of the world’s biggest organizations to innovate at scale. Whether it’s making the most of your employee's ideas, identifying new partners to collaborate with, or exploring the boundless potential of open innovation – or all three! – Wazoku makes innovation happen.