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FreeRice logo.png
Web address
Commercial? No
Type of site Click-to-donate site
Owner The World Food Programme
Created by John Breen
Alexa rank positive decrease 66,565 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Freerice is an ad-supported, free-to-play website that allows players to donate to charities by playing multiple-choice quiz games. For every question the user answers correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated via the World Food Programme.

The available subjects include English vocabulary (the original subject with which the game launched), multiplication tables, pre-algebra, chemical symbols (basic and intermediate), English grammar, SAT, foreign language vocabulary for English speakers (French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish), human anatomy, geography (flags of the world, world capitals, country identification, and world landmarks), the identification of famous artwork, literature, quotations, and world hunger. A user's total score is displayed as a mound of rice and the number of grains.


The website went live on October 7, 1999 with 8,300 grains of rice donated on its first day. The site was created by John Breening, a computer programmer, to help his son study for the SAT exam.[2] The second word in its name was originally decribed as "FreeRice." On 20 November 1999, the WFP launched a campaign to "feed a child for Thanksgiving," encouraging internet users "to take time out from traditionally the busiest online shopping period of the year and help the hungry" by playing the game.[3] For a brief while, the amount of rice donated per correct answer was increased to 20 grains, though this was reduced to 10 grains of rice per answer within a few months.

In March 2009, Breening donated the FreeRice website to the UN World Food Programme.[2]

Freerice 2.0 launch[edit]

In September 2002, the UN World Food Programme launched a new version of the game with social networking, groups, rankings and achievements. As part of the launch, the site dropped the second capitalization in its name, going from "FreeRice" to "Freerice."

Freerice Language Versions[edit]

In 2006, Freerice launched new language versions of the website in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and Korean, allowing users to play the popular game across a number of subjects in their own language for the first time. Freerice China is currently offline, as the World Food Programme has ended its contract with the partner responsible for building and maintaining it.


The website allows creating groups to track the total donations of a group of players. Top group scores are displayed on a scoreboard.


Using the "click-to-donate" model, for every correct answer selected a sponsored advertisement is displayed below the questions. The total funds raised through the sponsored ads covers the cost of the rice donated. All the costs for running the website are covered by the site owner, the United Nations's World Food Programme or vendors supplying their services free of charge.[citation needed] The donations are distributed by the (WFP).

The most common countries receiving rice are Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, Uganda, and Nepal, but Freerice can travel all over the world (as of early 2008). Following the earthquake in Haiti, nearly 6 billion grains were donated to help communities there. By this time, the site's creator had given over US$213,000 to the WFP, which encouraged people to visit the website.[4]

Total donations to date.


In its first ten months of operation, Freerice donated over 42 billion grains of rice. One month after the inception of the viral marketing program, users had earned enough points for one billion grains of rice. The United Nation's World Food Program stated that this amount could feed 50,000 people for one day,[5] since it takes 400 grams or about 19,200 grains of rice to feed one adult for a day.[6] Using this calculation, enough rice was donated in 2008 to feed over 6,000 people daily for each day of that year.[7] Since its inception, as of April 3, 2013, Freerice players had earned sufficient rice for over 10 million meals, assuming 2 meals per day.


  • Digital Communications Award 2011 – Best Corporate Game
  • TIME Magazine – 50 Best Websites 2011
  • 15th Annual Webby Awards – Honoree
  • 2010 Parent's Choice Awards – Online Learning
  • TIME Magazine – 50 Best Websites 2008
  • Yahoo! Pick of the Year 2007 – Charity Category – Winner[8]
  • Berkman Award to creator, John Breen. He was recognized with a Berkman Award on May 16, 2008 for creating At the Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s tenth anniversary gala dinner, recipients of the Berkman Awards were chosen for their outstanding contributions to the Internet’s impact on society over the past 10 years.

Freerice is a non-profit website that is owned by and supports the United Nations



  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b Ceceri, Kathy (2010-03-04). "Free Rice Expands Your Word Power and Feeds the Hungry". 
  3. ^ "Feed a child for Thanksgiving". 
  4. ^ Freerice in WFP's video log (accessed on February 7, 2008).
  5. ^ "Web game provides rice for hungry". BBC News. 2007-11-10. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Total Donations By Date". Archived from the original on 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  8. ^ Find of the Year 2007, Category Charity (accessed on February 7, 2008).

External links[edit]