WASHINGTON, DC—AARP today announced the five winners of the AARP Purpose Prize™ which recognizes outstanding work by people age 50 and over that is focused on advancing social good. In recognition of their outstanding community-focused work, each winner will receive a $50,000 cash award from AARP at the AARP Purpose Prize Award Gala, to be held in Chicago November 2. Additionally, AARP announced 10 AARP Purpose Prize Fellows who will be honored at the Chicago gala for the community-focused work of the organizations they each lead.
"The AARP Purpose Prize Award recognizes and rewards individuals who, in an encore career, are creating new ways to solve tough social problems," said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. "All over the country, millions of older adults with fresh ideas and big hearts are finding unique ways to help people in their community and we are proud to highlight some of the very best examples of that phenomenon with the AARP Purpose Prize Award."
The winners of the 2017 AARP Purpose Prize Award are:
Cynthia Barnett, founder and CEO, Amazing Girls Science, Norwalk, Conn.
Retired high school administrator Barnett was disappointed to see girls losing interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), so she created Amazing Girls Science. Through activities like coding camps, robotics workshops, and hackathons, the nonprofit inspires young girls to consider STEM-focused careers.
Reid Cox, co-founder and CFO, iFoster, Truckee, Calif.
Cox and his wife Serita, a former foster child, put their tech company experience to work in order to help families navigate the challenges of foster care. Their online community, iFoster, connects foster children and families with highly needed financial, educational, and social support resources.
James Farrin, executive director, The Petey Greene Program, Princeton, NJ
In 2007, former business consultant Farrin gathered 20 students from his alma mater Princeton University to tutor prison inmates studying for the GED. The Petey Greene Program — named for a former inmate-turned-activist and popular 70s- and 80s-era radio/TV host — has flourished, with students from 30 colleges now tutoring 1,500 individuals in 34 facilities.
Celeste Mergens, founder and CEO, Days for Girls, Mount Vernon, Wash.
Mergens started Days for Girls eight years ago to supply young girls in a Kenyan orphanage with feminine hygiene products so they wouldn't have to miss school during their periods. This nonprofit has helped 800,000 women and girls worldwide, sidestepping cultural taboos to educate them about their bodies.
Mike Weaver, Founder, Weaver & Concerned Citizens of Aiken/Atlanta Now (WeCCAAN), Atlanta, Ga.
Former college professor Weaver teaches the value of public service by bringing teens and adults together for service-learning trips to communities in need. From cleaning vacant lots to creating community gardens, Weaver and Concerned Citizens of Aiken/Atlanta Now is making a difference in the lives and futures of its participants as well as the recipients of their volunteerism. Weaver is also the recipient of 2017 Andrus Award for Intergenerational Excellence, named after AARP's founder.
The 10 individuals named AARP Purpose Prize Awards Fellows are: Bonnie Addario, Founder and Chair, Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, San Carlos, Calif.; Gary Eichhorn, CEO, Music & Youth Initiative Boston, Mass.; Laurie Green, MD, Founder/ President & CEO, The MAVEN ProjectSan Francisco, Calif.; Annie Griffiths, Executive Director, Ripple Effect Images, Reston, Va.; Cindy Kerr, Founder/CEO, Ryan's Case for Smiles, Wayne, Pa.; Sister Marilyn Lacey, Mercy Beyond Borders, Santa Clara, Calif.; Ashok Malhotra, Founder/President, The Ninash Foundation, Oneonta, N.Y.; Anne Pollack, Executive Director/Founder, Crossing Point Arts, Inc., New York, N.Y.; Lynn Price, Founder, Camp to Belong, Aurora, Colo., and Juanita Suber, President, My Sistah's Place/Golden Generations, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla.
Nominations are now open for the 2018 AARP Purpose Prize, here: www.aarp.org/purposeprize
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world's largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.