Skip to main content

Purpose Prize Winners Honored by Obama, Oprah

Resource type: News

Civic Ventures | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

This dispatch is from Civic Ventures’ Encore Careers campaign, an Atlantic grantee that aims to engage millions of people in encore careers – combining personal meaning, continued income and social impact – to produce a windfall of talent to solve society’s greatest problems.

This is an exciting time for several Purpose Prize winners, who are getting high praise from President Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

Today Obama is awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal to just 13 people. And three of them – picked from 6,000 nominees – are Prize winners.

“This year’s recipients of the Citizens Medal come from different backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a cause greater than themselves,” Obama said in a statement. “They exemplify the best of what it means to be an American.”

Judith Broder and Elizabeth and Stephen Alderman, who won The Purpose Prize in 2009, will receive their medals during an October 20 White House ceremony. 

Broder, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, saw how veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffered greatly from memories of what they had seen and done. In 2004, she founded The Soldiers Project to provide free, unlimited counseling to veterans and their families. The organization has expanded beyond California to several cities, including Chicago, Boston and New York. It has provided counseling to more than 300 patients in the Los Angeles area alone.


The Aldermans are also providing mental health services to people in desperate need. After losing their son, Peter, on 9/11 in the World Trade Center, they created the Bedford, N.Y.-based Peter C. Alderman Foundation in 2003. The organization has partnered with academic, government and religious institutions around the world to establish mental health clinics for victims of rape and other forms of extreme violence. The Aldermans’ work has led to the treatment of more than 100,000 victims in various countries, including Cambodia, Rwanda and Haiti.

And Winfrey has her sights on two 2010 Purpose Prize winners. Margaret Gordon and Dana Freyer were recently showcased on for the extraordinary work they do in their encores.

Gordon, a former housekeeper, became an environmental activist fighting the poor air quality – and the rampant asthma it caused – in her West Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. Winfrey’s website says Gordon embodies this ideal: “You become what you believe.” Take a look here.

Freyer, a former corporate lawyer, started the Global Partnership for Afghanistan to help rural Afghans build sustainable livelihoods and restore their environment by revitalizing woodlots, vineyards and orchards. On Winfrey’s website, Freyer is cited in a 60-second commercial, sponsored by the Toyota Venza, as an “Everyday Visionary.” The pitch: “What’s your next passion in life?” Watch the clip here.

Want to be among the first to find out who will win the 2011 Purpose Prize? Here’s how:

Civic Ventures is an Atlantic grantee. 

Related Resources



Global Impact:

United States


Civic Ventures, Purpose Prize