Nonprofit of the Year Finalists

Non-profit collaboration earns national award for distributing mobile literacy apps in Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WIS. – Milwaukee Knowledge Exchange (MKE), a partnership between Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW) and YWCA Southeast Wisconsin (SEW), was announced as a finalist Monday (April 1st) in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition. The $1 Million Communities Competition is an important piece of the $7 Million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Communities Competition incentivizes organizations, communities, and individuals to recruit adult learners to download and use the apps developed by four of the finalist teams in a previous XPRIZE competition phase.

The Communities Competition $1 Million prize is awarded in two parts: $500,000 in milestone awards for teams that submit the most innovative, feasible and scalable plans, and another $500,000 prize purse for teams that go on to recruit the most adult learners to download and use the apps. An independent panel of judges determined that 24 teams had the best proposals and will split the $500,000 milestone award. MKE is honored to be named as one of the top 24 teams.

MKE, a partnership between LSW and YWCA SEW, seeks to maximize the scope and reach of the XPRIZE applications to adults with academic needs and those facing barriers in southeast Wisconsin. MKE serves 1,700 adult students each year at 11 sites and accounts for over 40% of the GED/HSED outcomes in the region.

MKE has recognized leaders within the adult education field with expertise in andragogy, program design, and assessment. Holly McCoy, Executive Director of LSW, holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education and a Master of Arts in Adult Education/ Organizational Development, both from Alverno College. Jacob Gorges, Adult Education Manager at YWCA SEW, holds a degree in Adult Education, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and has nearly 15 years of experience in working with Milwaukee’s inner city adult education students.

“Our approach to recruitment and application utilization is to integrate application use into existing adult education programs. Additionally, as leaders in the adult education community, we will leverage this position to maximize exposure to individuals who are not currently students in our programs but who, nonetheless, need access to adult education.”

MKE plans to reach current students by refining enrollment and assessment processes to include app integration. All students of Literacy Services and YWCA SEW will have free, unlimited access to these apps, which they may use to supplement their individual learning. Additionally, app use will be made available to friends, family, and others in the MKE community at large. Our intention is to spread the use of these apps to any and every individual who may want to learn something new, sharpen their skills, or just enjoy educational games. Learn more about the apps and the competition at


Check out the apps!

Learn more about the apps and competition.