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The Founder Of StoryCorps Is Getting The $1 Million TED Prize

What will the money do to the oral history organization?

Storycorps is a nonprofit devoted to telling good stories. So it makes a special kind of sense that Dave Isay, StoryCorps’ founder, is getting the 2015 TED Prize–an honor given by an organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.”

Founded in 2003, StoryCorps lets participants tell their personal stories–guided by a facilitator–at designated StoryCorps recording sites, found in cities across the U.S. Participants are given a recording of their conversation, and if they allow it, a copy also goes to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

So far, the nonprofits has recorded 50,000 interviews with more than 90,000 participants. Some of the more interesting projects have included The StoryCorps Griot Project, a yearlong initiative to collect the voices of African-American families; War Ink, a story collection of veterans’ tattoos; StoryLine, an oral history of Superstorm Sandy; and the Memory Loss Initiative, which collects personal stories from individuals who are dealing with memory loss.

TED’s prize, which comes with $1 million to help grant a wish from the recipient, is coming up on its tenth anniversary. Last year, the prize was given to Charmian Gooch, the co-founder of Global Witness. Her wish: abolishing anonymous companies, which are responsible for much of the world’s financial corruption. Isay will announce his wish during a talk at the TED conference in March 2015.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.



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