Project Paradigm

Letter From Founder & CEO Jeff Richardson

Jeff Richardson

We are thrilled to share with you that more than 50,000 students aged 7 to 18 participated in our first annual Paradigm Challenge to reduce injuries and fatalities from home fires – our #1 disaster threat. The incredible entries included inventions, community events, websites, songs, children’s books, plays, mobile apps, awareness videos, safety messages, and many other types of ideas. We are humbled by the students’ innovation and inspired by their kindness. Be sure to check out the recap below this letter to read about some of the winning ideas and our efforts to help the students take their ideas to market.

We designed The Paradigm Challenge to inspire youth to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration (in addition to STEM skills) to address important issues and to enhance each person’s awareness of his or her ability and responsibility to affect positive change in the world. The entries, together with the incredible response from participants, teachers, parents, and others, confirm that we achieved our goal for the students who participated in our inaugural Challenge. Also, we are proud to share that the White House recently recognized our commitment to early STEM learning (in April 2016) and our commitment to young makers (in June 2016).

While we are pleased to have engaged more than 50,000 students in our first Challenge, the latest Census figures indicate that there are more than 2.3 billion youth in the world. We are just getting started.

We also have a long list of problems that our youth can help address. As you can see throughout the rest of our website, the current Paradigm Challenge invites youth to create new ideas to reduce waste in their homes, schools, communities, and/or around the world. For those who are concerned about climate change, the reduction of waste is the best way to help reduce global warming. For those who care about the environment but are not as convinced about climate change, the reduction of waste is the best way to help the environment. Either way, we need to reduce waste.

The Earth is everyone’s responsibility, and so is innovation and kindness. If you are between the ages of 4 and 18 (as of the May 1, 2017 entry deadline), please accept this Challenge, form a team, and submit your best ideas. If you are over 18, please help us spread the word about The Paradigm Challenge to youth, parents, teachers, and others. The top 100 student teams will win cash prizes of up to $100,000. We also will award more than $50,000 in cash grants to teachers and others who inspire students to participate in The Paradigm Challenge.

Thank you for your interest in our foundation, Project Paradigm. We hope you will take a moment to review this page to learn more about our projects. We welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions regarding our mission in general or any of our initiatives.



Jeff Richardson
Founder & CEO

Foundation Details


Our formation


Our endowment

Jeff Richardson

Founder & CEO

Alex Sanchez

Innovation Officer

Montana Marks

Kindness Officer

Michelle Lewis

Collaboration Officer

Please Check Out Some of Our Current and Recent Projects


    Coming Soon


    We offer free video and print lesson plans and supporting materials to help teachers inspire their students to use kindness and creativity to make a difference in the world. The inspiring teachers who are associated with the top 100 student teams will receive grants from $200 to $5,000. Please click on the EDUCATORS tab for more information.


    Innovation is commonly defined as a new idea, device, or method. But what does this really mean and how is innovation different from creativity and invention?

    Thomas Edison, one of the greatest innovators of all time, provides a starting point: “Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” From there, Edison probably would agree that the 1% inspiration is pure creativity and that, if the creativity and innovation lead to the making of something new, that is an invention. In other words, all inventions represent innovation but not all innovations are inventions.

    As you will see from our website, Project Paradigm is committed to innovation (including the creativity that sparks innovation and the inventions that sometimes follow innovation). Our project (or mission) is to change paradigms. We strive for internal innovation, we provide grants to innovative organizations, and we empower and inspire youth to generate innovative solutions to important problems as part of The Paradigm Challenge.

    If you believe in the power of creativity, innovation, and inventions, reach out to us so we can collaborate.


    Project Paradigm believes that children are born with an innate sense of kindness – a natural willingness to help. Some people theorize that children are socialized over time to think more about themselves than others. Regardless of the explanation, we would like to do our part to help children maintain and develop their natural born kindness.

    We designed The Paradigm Challenge to inspire youth to use STEM skills plus kindness, creativity, and collaboration to help make a difference in the world. Specifically, we believe participants in The Challenge will gain a greater awareness of their ability and responsibility to help others.

    Indeed, we encourage everyone (youth and adults) to practice acts of kindness. Feel free to start with random or non-random acts. Join the kindness movement and make a difference. The world will be a better place and an increasing amount of research shows that your acts of kindness will increase your own happiness as well.

    If you are passionate about kindness, please reach out to us so we can collaborate.


    Cooking Fire Prevention Technology And Research

    Cooking is the leading cause of home fire injuries. Each year, stove ranges and cook tops are involved in more than 91,000 home fires, causing more than 300 deaths and more than 3,700 injuries.

    We believe that research and new technologies are catalysts for change. A number of companies have developed innovative and promising technologies to reduce cooking range top fires. As just one example, consider a “smart” burner that will automatically turn itself off it if gets too hot (such as when it is left on by accident).

    Project Paradigm has, together with the National Institute for Standards and Technology, provided funding to the National Fire Protection Research Foundation to facilitate the development of standards to test these emerging technologies.

    Project Paradigm has also provided funding to Underwriter Laboratories to further develop cooking fire safety performance criteria and bring cooking fire prevention technologies to market by partnering with product manufacturers to develop new technologies which meet such performance criteria.

    We are proud to report that, based on a strong coalition of dedicated organizations and individuals, we are approaching the day when these new stove technologies will prevent home fires and save lives.

    Home Safety Visits And Smoke Alarm Installations

    Project Paradigm is committed to the reduction of injuries and fatalities from home fires. Increasing the percentage of homes with working smoke alarms is an important component of any comprehensive solution.

    We are proud to provide financial support to the American Red Cross for its Home Fire Preparedness Campaign and to other national and local efforts to prevent home fires, identify who is performing home safety visits, understand how many visits are performed each year, and learn how to increase both the quality and quantity of home safety visits.

    We continually hear that a “fear of liability” is a leading barrier to increased home visits and smoke alarm installations. We currently are working on four potential strategies to help reduce this barrier:

    State-Specific Model Waiver Forms

    Many organizations do not have lawyers on staff or funds to hire outside lawyers to prepare waivers that are appropriate for the laws in their specific states. We have retained a law firm to prepare a waiver for each state and we will make those forms available for free, and we will update them annually, as needed.

    Fact Versus Fiction

    We are conducting a historical review of smoke alarm installation lawsuits to dispel the many myths that worsen the fear of liability.


    Many organizations have questions about a variety of legal and other issues regarding home visits and smoke alarm installations. Without answers, they are less likely to take action. We are exploring the feasibility of having knowledgeable persons available to answer questions from these organizations at no charge.

    Insurance Policy

    We are exploring the feasibility of a liability policy (purchased by Project Paradigm) that would allow other organizations to piggy-back (as additional named insureds) at no charge to those organizations.

    Please contact us if you would like more information regarding any of these strategies.

    The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

    The Phoenix Society is an impactful community of burn survivors, their loved ones, health professionals, and firefighters. Their promise to survivors is simple but powerful: “You are not alone. You can get back to living. We can help, with caring people to share the journey and resources to make it easier.” We are proud to support The Phoenix Society and its annual World Burn Congress.