Why We Just Donated $150,000 to the XPRIZE Foundation

Vishen at XPRIZE Visit 2013
Vishen Lakhiani, Steve Jurvetson, Anousheh Ansari, Peter Diamandis and other XPRIZE Board Members in front of the Virgin Galactic Enterprise, the new spaceship that takes 6 people to sub-orbital space.

The following was a memo sent by Vishen Lakhiani to the Mindvalley Team on July 24 2014. It reveals some of the beliefs about social responsibility that we share as a company. It also shares Vishen’s views on why traditional charities don’t work as well, and crowd-sourced solutions like XPRIZE foundation have the potential to create far more lasting change. Without further adieu, here is the memo:

Subject: We just donated $150K to XPRIZE. Here’s Why….
From: Vishen Lakhiani
To: Team

Hey Team,

I’m proud to announce that we just completed a donation of $150,000 to the XPRIZE Foundation.

Mindvalley is more than a company. When we do good as a business, we want to contribute to causes and NGOs that are doing good for the planet.


Because we’ve donated to traditional NGOs, and the money usage is ineffective compared to XPRIZE.

In 2009, we donated almost $50,000 USD to help save Amazonian Forest Land. It worked. For a while. But then a major oil company acquired that land for $1 billion to drill for oil. Our money and the millions from countless other donors got wasted.

Buckminster Fuller said…

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” 

Think about that. That’s the problem with many charities. They fight existing reality rather than building new models that make existing reality obsolete.

So rather than save rainforest from oil companies why not go beyond?

  • Can we make oil unnecessary?
  • Can me make solar power reign?
  • Can we make food production so efficient that rainforest doesn’t need to be cut down?

Well, WE can’t.

Not by ourselves.

But teams of committed individuals around the world CAN.

And XPRIZE brings these teams together on ‘quests’ to radically transform the planet.

Thanks to a $10 million prize backed by Iranian entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, (you can watch her speech from AwesomenessFest here) we now have a $1 billion-dollar private space industry. And your children – perhaps even YOU, will someday get to visit space.

Thanks to a $2-million prize after the BP oil spill we now have a way to clean up oil spills at a rate 6X that which the petroleum companies can do.

This is why folks like Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX) and Larry Page (Google) are major donors of XPRIZE. These prizes motivate and inspire teams to come up with radical solutions that solve world problems.

Our $150,000 donation helps Peter Diamandis (the founder of XPRIZE foundation) run the team that creates these challenges. XPRIZE is a not-for-profit, yes. But it’s the best damn one I’ve seen at taking money and multiplying its power to create change.

Larry Page once said “I would rather give my billions to Elon Musk than charity.”

I agree. I’d rather give my money to Peter Diamandis than charity.

Watch this video for the multiplier effect of XPRIZE Competition Money.

Do the Math (1 min):

And this video for a history of what XPRIZE has done so far:

And finally, let me share with you the New Year’s Card Peter Diamandis sent me.

It’s a reminder of something I’ve always believed in.

Business people do it for the bucks.
But REAL entrepreneurs – they do it to push the human race forward.

The Cover:

Peter D Card Cover 2

The Inside:

Peter D Card Inside

Don’t ever forget why we’re in business:

Build things that matter.
Leave the planet in better shape than you inherited it.
And tackle major problems the resolution of which will help us Push Humanity Forward.

Finally, a 4-minute video on the XPRIZE Foundation. Worth a watch.

Making the Impossible, Possible:

Vishen Lakhiani
Founder, Mindvalley

Editors Notes: Vishen Lakhiani sits on the Innovation Board of the XPRIZE Foundation. Elon Musk, Larry Page sit on the Board of Trustees. More on the XPRIZEFoundation here.



Education for People Who Refuse to Fit into the Ordinary World


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