“The Paradigm Challenge is a simple way to win money for college!”

Emma Spencer & Scott Johnson

The Paradigm Challenge Grand Prize Winners


“We invite students aged 4 to 18 around the world to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to help solve real-life problems.”

Jeff Richardson

Founder & CEO, Project Paradigm



Fire is Everyone's Fight. Home fires occur every 90 seconds and take more lives than earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined.


The Earth is everyone's responsibility. Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.


Wellness and healing are good for everyone. Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.


Everyone's part of the food system. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.


Win a trip to Los angeles

Win a trip to Los angeles

Imagine winning a 4-day/3-night trip to Los Angeles with your parent to enjoy the beach, experience Disneyland, and star in a video shown around the world. Then dress like a star and your limo will take you a red carpet event to collect your prize.

Win the paradigm challenge prize

Win the paradigm challenge prize

All it takes is one idea. Use your creativity to win up to $100,000 and change the world. The students who submit the top idea in each age division (4-8, 9-13, and 14-18) will attend the Ceremony and compete for The Paradigm Challenge Prize! Enter by May 1.


Eight-year-old Kedar cartwheels onto the stage and shares his pollinator dream during his heart-warming acceptance speech.


Teens Emma and Scott share how The Paradigm Challenge inspired their collaborative journey to reduce injuries from home fires.




Learn how to enter and win The Paradigm Challenge.



Learn how to solve problems and change the world.

noun: a group of ideas about how to approach a problem


noun: an invitation to engage in a competition


The deadline to submit an entry for the 2018/19 Paradigm Challenge is May 1, 2019.

The Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that invites students aged 4 to 18 around the world to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to help solve real-life problems and make a difference.

Students aged 4 to 18 (as of the entry deadline) around the world are invited to enter The Paradigm Challenge individually or as teams of any size. See the Challenge Rules for more information about who can join The Paradigm Challenge.

We welcome all types of ideas, including posters, videos, inventions, public messages, community events, websites, mobile apps, or anything else that will help address one or more of the Paradigm Challenge Projects.

A blue-ribbon panel of judges will evaluate entries based on effectiveness, feasibility, originality, presentation, and collaboration.

Up to four team members associated with the top entry in each age division (ages 4 to 8, ages 9 to 13, and ages 14 to 18) (and a parent or guardian for each team member) will receive a 4-day/3-night trip to Los Angeles to attend The Paradigm Challenge Prize Ceremony.

Participants in The Paradigm Challenge are not asked to provide any identifying information (such as last name, day of birth, or address), unless their parents have provided written consent for the submission of such information. Emails to participants under age 13 will be sent to the parent/guardian email address provided during registration.

High Quality Project Based Learning
Let’s teach our youth how
to change the world.

“Students come alive when presented with an opportunity to do something that matters. The Paradigm Challenge provides that spark and the Challenge website provides ample scaffolding to support you and your students”

Leon Tynes

Teacher and recipient of Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, ISTE Technology in Action award, Henry Ford Teacher Innovator award, and PBS Digital Innovator award

Inspire Students & You Can Win a Grant!

Student Prizes
Educator Grants
Grand Prize
1st Place
2 Teams
2nd Place
3 Teams
3rd Place
3 Teams
91 Teams


Inspire others with your acts of kindness. Feel free to start with random or non-random acts. Join the kindness movement and make a difference.

CREATE. Create a video, poem, story, drawing, photograph, or anything else that captures one of your acts of kindness.

SHARE. Upload your entry (or entries) to tell the world about your kindness. Then ask friends, family, and everyone else you know to vote for your entry.

WIN! The 10 entries with the most votes will win cash prizes up to $500!


“My experience as a Paradigm Challenge Ambassador helped me become the first freshman in school history to be elected as High School Student Body President.”

Blessing R.

Paradigm Challenge Ambassador

become an ambassador for change

Attend the prize ceremony in Los angeles

Imagine winning a 4-day/3-night trip to Los Angeles with your parent to enjoy the beach, experience Disneyland, and star in a video shown around the world. Then dress like a star and your limo will take you to a red carpet event.

how it works

Become an Ambassador For Change to inspire students to make a difference in the world. Sign up today, receive your Ambassador materials, help spread the word about The Challenge, and you could win a trip to participate in our Prize Ceremony.

How To Earn Ambassador Points

Speak to a classroom: 10 points each
Speak to an entire grade level: 20 points each
Speak at a school-wide assembly: 50 points each
Speak to a civic, community, or church group: 5 points each

Tweet official Challenge messages: 3 points each
Post official Challenge messages on Facebook: 3 points each
Join The Paradigm Challenge Facebook page: 3 points
Post Challenge logo on Instagram: 3 points

Use the unique tracking link in your Ambassador Packet to receive points for referrals who register for The Challenge and become Ambassadors.
Refer students to register for The Challenge: 2 points each confirmed registration.
Refer students to become Challenge Ambassadors: 2 points each confirmed Ambassador.

School newspaper or newsletter: 5 points each
Community newspaper: 10 points each
Community television or radio station: 10 points each station

Think of other creative ways to spread the word about The Challenge and earn bonus Ambassador points.


“It’s amazing to see what my kids are able to do together, collaborating to come up with new ideas. I’m so thrilled Project Paradigm created The Paradigm Challenge for our youth!”

Jenny S.

Mom of Division 1 Winners


We are proud to share that the White House recognized our commitment to early STEM learning (in April 2016) and our commitment to young makers (in June 2016). The Paradigm Challenge sparks and cultivates youth interest in using science, technology, engineering, and math skills to solve real-world problems.

Innovating for good

Youth have an innate sense of innovating for good. The Paradigm Challenge provides an opportunity to use that kindness and creativity to help address real world problems and increases each student’s awareness of his or her ability and responsibility to make a difference.


Each student can pick an avatar that mimics his or her creative alter ego. For privacy reasons, we do not permit students to upload actual photographs of themselves.

After choosing an avatar, the next step is to build or join a team. While there is no minimum or maximum team size, the key is collaboration.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford

“Great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people.” -Steve Jobs

Students can use the build a team tool to follow in the footsteps of Keller, Ford, and Jobs.

Students will watch a two-minute video to learn the six steps to solve any challenge.

Study the problem
Observe what others are doing to help
List all imaginable ideas
Visualize each idea and how it might solve the problem
Engage others for further input on the best ideas
Decide which idea is the best

The “SOLVED” method is appropriate for students of all ages and will provide students with a valuable tool to address other challenges in their lives.

The next step is to study one or more of the Challenge Projects. Students can visit the CHALLENGE PROJECTS page to learn about the problems presented.

After students study one or more Challenge Projects, the next step is to learn about current efforts. The CHALLENGE PROJECTS page provides examples of videos, posters, websites, inventions, public messages, and community events and educational programs for each Challenge Project.

After students observe what other people are doing to help, the next step is to brainstorm new or improved solutions.

The LIST ALL IMAGINABLE IDEAS page includes a virtual whiteboard to track each team's ideas. If a team member thinks of an idea on her own, she can add it and it will show up on her teammates' white boards.

Students of all ages can also learn how to brainstorm effectively by watching a short video of four Stanford Design Institute students think of different ways to store chewed gum.

After creating a long list of ideas, the next step is to start to think about how to identify which ideas are best.

The VISUALIZE EACH IDEA page provides tips on how to analyze whether each idea is effective, feasible, and original. To help students get started, the page also includes links to tools to search for patents, videos, images, trademarks, apps, and more.

We will add more tips and resources throughout The Challenge. Students are encouraged to contact us when they discover other resources and we may add them.

After narrowing the list of creative ideas, the next step is to collaborate with other people to identify possible improvements. Parents and educators are a great starting point.

The ENGAGE WITH OTHERS page helps students identify other knowledgeable persons who may be able to help.

Students are encouraged to contact us when they discover other experts in their communities.

After engaging others for further input, the next step is to confer with teammates and choose the best idea (or ideas).

The DECIDE AND PRESENT page also provides suggestions on how to create a winning presentation.

Students are encouraged to contact us if they come across other strategies and we may add them.

After deciding which idea (or ideas) to submit and creating a presentation, the next step is to fill out an entry form. Students can save their work as they go and come back to work on the draft entry or submit the final entry at any time prior to the entry deadline. Students are encouraged to submit as many entries as they wish.


about Us

We created The Paradigm Challenge because we believe that our youth have a natural ability to innovate for good. We are thrilled to share with you that students from 173 different countries stepped forward to accept The Challenge to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to make a difference in the world. We are both humbled and excited by how quickly The Challenge has become a global youth movement.

During our first three Challenges, students around the world generated a wide range of incredible ideas to reduce injuries and fatalities from home fires (Year 1), help the environment through the reduction of waste (Year 2), and improve personal health through wellness and healing (Year 3). The students’ ideas already are making a difference and we are proud to support the implementation of the most promising ideas.

We could not have achieved this level of success without the passionate contributions of our partners in the different project areas (fire, waste, and health) and, of course, teachers and other educators. We are proud of our collaboration with these individuals and organizations and we are making a big change this year based on their feedback. Our fire, waste, and health partners have encouraged us to engage students in these same areas year after year and our teacher partners have encouraged us to provide multiple high quality project based learning opportunities throughout the school year.

Accordingly, this year’s Challenge brings back the first three projects (fires, waste, and health) and adds a new project: the security of our global food system. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization explains that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

We invite students aged 4 to 18 to help us create solutions for one of more of these four projects. If you are between the ages of 4 and 18 (as of the May 1, 2019 entry deadline), please accept this Challenge, form a team, and submit your best ideas. Like in the past, the top 100 student entries will win cash prizes of up to $100,000!

If you are over 18, please help us spread the word about The Paradigm Challenge to youth, parents, teachers, and others. We offer more than $50,000 in cash grants to teachers and others who inspire students to participate in The Paradigm Challenge.

Finally, we hope you will take a moment to review our site to learn more about our projects. We welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions regarding our mission in general or any of our initiatives.

Thank you for your interest in our foundation, Project Paradigm.


Jeff Richardson
Founder & CEO

We endeavor to identify, support, and collaborate with passionate individuals and organizations to inspire, lead, and facilitate paradigm shifts in the approaches to global challenges.

Jeff Richardson is the Founder and CEO of Project Paradigm and The Paradigm Challenge. Jeff is passionate about inspiring youth to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to address real-world problems and enhancing each person’s awareness of his or her ability and responsibility to affect positive change in the world. Jeff originally is from Oregon and now resides in California.

Alex Sanchez is the Innovation Officer for Project Paradigm. Alex is passionate about using technology to improve the quality of life for people around the world. Alex originally is from California and now resides in Ohio.

Montana Marks is the Kindness Officer for Project Paradigm. Montana is passionate about spreading kindness among students, parents, and teachers (and animals). Montana originally is from Pennsylvania and now resides in California.

Manda Lucius is the Artistic Genius for Project Paradigm. Manda is passionate about creative expression. Manda originally is from Mississippi and now resides in California.

Claudia Estevez is the Operations Virtuoso for Project Paradigm. Claudia is passionate about inspiring kindness toward each other, animals, and the environment. Claudia originally is from Maryland and now resides in California.

The first annual Paradigm Challenge generated innovative ideas to reduce injuries and fatalities from home fires -- America's #1 disaster threat.

Emma Spencer and Scott Johnson won the grand prize for their creative idea: The Fire Mitt, an oven mitt that quickly turns into a fire blanket.

The second annual Paradigm Challenge generated innovate ideas to reduce waste in homes, schools, communities, and around the world.

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 cooktops 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, 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.