10 Americans Over 60 Win The Purpose Prize for Making an Extraordinary Impact in their Encore Careers

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From Fighting U.S. Foreclosures to Rebuilding Afghanistan, 10 Social Innovators Receive $750,000 Total for Combining Passion and Experience for Social Good
  

Civic Ventures today announced the 2010 winners of its Purpose Prize. Five $100,000 and five $50,000 prizes will go to social entrepreneurs over 60 who, in their encore careers, are using their experience and passion to make an extraordinary impact on society’s biggest challenges. Now in its fifth year, the six-year, $17 million program is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life.

Winners include:

  • A woman who ended her plans for retirement when she realized neighbors needed help negotiating better mortgage terms in order to avoid foreclosure
  • A longtime arbitrator for an international law firm who is working with Afghans to rebuild orchards and vineyards – and their economy
  • A former housekeeper who became an activist – and a mayor-appointed commissioner – to fight port and other industrial pollution in her low-income neighborhood
  • A former owner of a tool-and-dye shop who returned to his native West Virginia for a peaceful retirement, only to find himself fighting a coal industry engaged in the destructive, disruptive practice of mountain top removal

“Purpose Prize winners are courageous, creative, passionate and strategic – all the qualities needed to make headway on some of our greatest challenges,” said Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Civic Ventures and author of the upcoming book The Big Shift (April 2011, PublicAffairs Books). “It is the combination of these qualities, their decades of experience, and the sheer size of the baby boomer population that make social innovators in their encore careers a promising and invaluable asset to society.”

Sherry Lansing, CEO of The Sherry Lansing Foundation and former chair of Paramount Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, chairs the jury that selected this year’s winners. The 32 judges – leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector – chose the 10 winners out of a pool of more than 1,400 nominees.

The winners and 46 Purpose Prize Fellows of 2010 will be honored at the Purpose Prize Summit November 12-14 in Philadelphia.

The approximately 400 attendees of the invitation-only event will hear from featured speakers such as W. Wilson Goode Sr. (former mayor of Philadelphia and 2006 Prize winner), writer and cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson (author of Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom), civil rights leader and social innovator Robert Moses (founder of The Algebra Project) and best-selling author Martin Seligman (founder of the field of positive psychology).

The Purpose Prize, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation, is a program of Civic Ventures’ Encore Careers campaign (www.encore.org), which aims to engage millions of boomers in encore careers combining social impact, personal meaning and continued income in the second half of life.

Short summaries for all winners are below. Fuller summaries, videos and photographs are online at www.encore.org/prize.

The $100,000 winners are (in alphabetical order):

Allan Barsema, Community Collaboration Inc., Rockford, Ill. – With family support, Barsema broke free from the alcoholism that had cost him his marriage, house and business. His past inspired him to open an outreach center for the homeless and develop an online system to coordinate support services for Rockford-area homeless (tools now being used in five states).

Barry Childs, Africa Bridge, Marylhurst, Ore. – Millions of children orphaned by AIDS now live in Tanzania. Childs, who was raised there, returned to help. His organization has set up 28 income-generating farming cooperatives for caregivers in 16 villages and built classrooms and clinics for thousands of African children.

Margaret Gordon, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Oakland, Calif. – After years of living near the Oakland port, Gordon connected rampant asthma to the pollution in her low-income neighborhood. She transitioned from housekeeper to activist to mayor-appointed commissioner of the country’s fourth-busiest container port.

Inez Killingsworth, Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People, Cleveland – When Killingsworth realized that neighbors were being forced out of their homes (victims of predatory lending), she created a nonprofit that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by negotiating better mortgage terms with banks. The organization helped 8,000 families across Ohio in 2009 alone.

Judith Van Ginkel, Every Child Succeeds, Cincinnati – Building on her background in various health care roles, Van Ginkel leads a program that provides in-home services for first-time, at-risk mothers. The program has served more than 16,500 families and built a decade of evidence that home visits by a social worker or nurse during a woman’s pregnancy, through her child’s third birthday, can improve the lives of both mother and child.

The $50,000 winners are (in alphabetical order):

Barbara Allen, Fresh Artists, Lafayette Hill, Pa. – Allen has come up with a new way to provide funding for art supplies in urban public schools. Her organization invites K-12 students to donate the use of their artwork for large-scale reproduction. Organizations that make donations to Fresh Artists receive images of the artwork for their offices. In turn, Fresh Artists uses the donations to buy art supplies for Philadelphia’s poorest schools.

Dana Freyer, Global Partnership for Afghanistan, New York – After NATO forces ousted the Taliban, Freyer set out to help revive Afghanistan. She co-founded a nonprofit that assists rural Afghans in revitalizing woodlots, vineyards and orchards, bringing financial stability to nearly 84,000 people in the war-ravaged country.

Hubert Jones, Boston Children’s Chorus, Boston – For six decades, Jones has built and nourished nonprofits that speak to one of our most enduring struggles: race. But his most enduring legacy may rest with the young members of a chorus he founded to unite children across differences of race, religion and economic status.

Donald Stedman, New Voices Foundation, Raleigh, N.C. – Stedman believes that few people want to “waste their time” helping children with severe disabilities learn. To change that, he has established an organization that counsels schools on the best strategies to engage seriously disabled students, then helps to assess technological and teacher training needs.

Bo Webb, Coal River Mountain Watch, Whitesville, W.Va. – Across Appalachia, mountaintop removal – blasting mountaintops to expose coal – has destroyed at least 500 mountains and buried nearly 2,000 miles of streams. A former small businessman, Webb retired to his ancestral home for its stunning beauty. Instead, he found himself fighting the coal industry to preserve it.

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About Civic Ventures (www.encore.org)
Civic Ventures is a national think tank on boomers, work and social purpose that introduced the concept of encore careers that combine purpose, passion and a paycheck.

About The Atlantic Philanthropies (atlanticphilanthropies.org)
The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic makes grants through its four programme areas – Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights – and through Founding Chairman grants. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam.

About the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org)
The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for research and discoveries relating to what scientists and philosophers call the Big Questions. The Foundation supports work at the world’s top universities in such fields as theoretical physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, cognitive science and social science relating to love, forgiveness, creativity, purpose, and the nature and origin of religious belief.

Civic Ventures is an Atlantic grantee.

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Issues:

Aging

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Civic Ventures, encore careers, Purpose Prize