The 2015 TED Prize Awards an Act of Generosity and Love

Dave Isay has a big wish: to gather stories and create an archive of the wisdom of humanity. He is the Founder of StoryCorps whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives.” StoryCorps allows each one of us to discover that we truly matter. By preserving our stories in this way we become better people in the process.

storycorps grand central

© Storycorps

In 2003, three years after the founding of Memoirs Productions, StoryCorps opened a recording booth facilitated by a moderator in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. For one hour, one person would interview a loved one, asking any questions or recording the telling of life stories that are important to them. Upon completion, the participants received a CD-Rom of their conversation while a duplicate copy was sent to the US Library of Congress for permanent archival storage.

© Rochelle Hartman

© Rochelle Hartman

Over the past 11 years of their story gathering process, StoryCorps moderators have noticed a common thread among these recorded conversations. Regardless of the socioeconomic background of the participants, the stories all have common threads of kindness, decency, dignity and courage.

Isay’s advice to us is to gather the courage and ask some of life’s important questions and to take the time to listen to the poetry, wisdom and grace that are to be found in the words spoken by the storytellers. If not, we will likely regret losing this opportunity to preserve the personal history of loved ones.

2015 TED Prize

With Isay’s award of the million dollar 2015 TED Prize, StoryCorps is expanding the reach of its story-capturing and archiving process. An app currently in beta-testing has been created so that people can bypass the current process and record their stories wherever and whenever they wish. Once stored, the interview can simply be uploaded as a file for sharing with the Library of Congress archive.

The potential reach and impact of this new process fulfills Isay’s wish to let humanity know that every single life matters equally and infinitely.

We invite you to watch Dave Isay’s TED Talk Everyone around you has a story the world needs to hear by clicking here.

You may also download the app onto your smart phone or tablet and try it out today:


P.S. If you don’t have time for the full TED talk, here’s Dave Isay’s intro to StoryCorps. We highly recommend learning more about this project!