Silicon Valley’s Westly Foundation, for the 10th straight year, leads the way in shining a light on novel solutions to community challenges
(MENLO PARK, CALIF.) – On Sat., Jan. 28, three winners of the 2023 Westly Prize for Young Social Innovators were announced, garnering each $40,000. The Westly Foundation has funded more than $1 million in Westly Prize awards over the last decade to young innovators with early-stage, novel solutions to community and global challenges. As described by Steve Westly, co-founder of the Westly Foundation and Westly Prize, “It’s the next generation that will solve many of our greatest challenges. We want to support the entrepreneurial spirit of these talented young people as they work to create a better world. Their dedication is extraordinary and we’re seeing astonishing solutions to age-old problems.”
This year’s finalists, all in their twenties, emerged from a pool of more than 100 California-based applicants. At Saturday’s event, eight finalists pitched to a panel of five judges at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. The following three teams were named winners:
ATLOS, A visual investigative tool for journalists – Noah Schechter & Miles McCain
- When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spawned a massive volume of eyewitness media and left journalists with outdated methods of preserving the vital historical records, Stanford University undergraduates, Noah Schechter and Miles McCain recognized the urgent need to create Atlos: an open-source platform dedicated to collaborative visual investigations.
- Atlos continues to serve as a database built for media verification, powering the open source journalism organization, Bellingcat’s Global Authentication Project.
- Noah and Miles plan to use their Westly Prize cash award to expand service to investigative partners worldwide.
CAPD PERIOD, Menstrual cup ending period poverty – Hannah Wilen & Neil Bhatia
- Their product, CapdCup is the first menstrual cup that can be emptied without removal, reinventing the future of period care for the billions of women disproportionately affected by the water crisis worldwide.
- Capd Cup started when Neil attended graduate school at University of California, Berkeley, he and Hannah now operate out of Santa Monica.
- Their Westly Prize enables them to distribute 10,000 CapdCups to women in Uganda.
WONDERFIL, Refilling stations diverting plastic from oceans & landfills – Amelia Eichel & Shiloh Sacks
- Wonderfil stations allow consumers to dispense and refill their daily-use in place of single-use plastic waste.
- Wonderfil has successfully piloted refill stations at two University of California campuses, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, with 800 users.
- Their Westly Prize enables them to expand Wonderfil stations across California.
Anita Yu, co-founder of the Westly Foundation, explains why: “It feels great to be able to give back. California has created meaningful opportunities for my husband and me. We want to make sure we plant seeds for these innovators, and California’s future in return.”
Past Westly Prize Winners
Past Westly Prize awardees have gone on to receive widespread acclaim for their innovations and impact. TIME recognized Westly Prize winner, Miranda Wang, as one of fifteen “change leaders” on its list of “Women Who Will Save the World” for her innovation, BioCellection. Kiah Williams was featured on the TODAY show to explain how her innovation, SIRUM, has redistributed nearly $50 million in prescription drugs.
About the Westly Foundation
Silicon Valley’s Westly Foundation, founded in 2000 by Steve Westly and Anita Yu, operates from the premise that investment in our children and youth paves the way for success in the future. The foundation works to improve the lives of at-risk children and youth in California and beyond.
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