The Audacious Project invites change-makers to submit their best and boldest ideas for tackling the world’s biggest challenges.

Earlier this year the eight winners for 2019 were announced live from the TED stage in Los Angeles – one of these was the UPSTART Project.

It is well documented that early education is important for a child's continued success. But, despite public policy pushes to fund it, half of American four-year-olds – approximately 2.2 million children – don't have access to an early education programme. Developed by the nonprofit, the UPSTART project is a proven, home-based readiness programme, that offers a solution to education access barriers.

Virgin Unite, Audacious Project, UPSTART

Through UPSTART, access has been given to more than 60,000 children in 16 states who otherwise might have missed a life-changing early-learning opportunity. The programme takes advantage of a key insight – that parents are a child's first teacher. 

By showing parents the value, giving them the resources, and empowering them to guide their child’s first journeys into learning, UPSTART helps unserved children get ready for school and engages parents more deeply in their education. The ultimate goal – to see every five-year-old in the US walk into their first school classroom prepared.

Claudia Miner, executive director and co-founder of UPSTART, is committed to supporting better education at home and has so far driven the UPSTART programme’s expansion to 16 states. Below Claudia discusses the importance of early education from the TED stage. 

At a time when our need for positive global change has never been greater, The Audacious Project continues to encourage the world’s greatest change-agents to dream bigger, to shape the best ideas into viable multi-year plans, and to present those ideas in a compelling way to potential supporters. It has a simple, ultimate goal: to make philanthropy more collaborative and more effective. 

The project was brought to life through the collaboration of some of the most respected names in the non-profit world, including Skoll, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Scott Cook & Signe Ostby and more. Virgin Unite is proud to be one of the key partners to have joined forces to help make this possible.