"Star Trek's" influence is not felt just in entertainment circles, and the Roddenberry Foundation aims to make sure that the innovative themes and ideas started fictionally are backed by real encouragement.
The foundation has launched a new award program, the Roddenberry Prize, an annual $1-million gift in support of "solutions that address humanity's greatest challenges." The inaugural honor consists of one $400,000 grand prize and four $150,000 innovation awards, disbursed in lump sums to five recipients. And those recipients can be anyone who has an idea or invention that "could benefit humanity in areas as diverse as poverty, obesity, education or the environment."
"We launched the Roddenberry Foundation to build on my father’s legacy and philosophy of inclusion, diversity and respect for life to meaningfully improve the lives of people around the world," said Rod Roddenberry, son of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, in a statement. "With today’s launch of the Roddenberry Prize, we hope to heighten awareness of the critical needs that many face on this planet, and unleash the imagination and drive of those inspired to do something about it."