AARP unveiled the 2021 AARP Purpose Prize award recipients and fellows, the only national award that celebrates people 50-plus who use their their knowledge and life experience to solve tough social problems.
These Americans tap into the power of life experience to build a better future, founding and leading initiatives from school-safety and violence-prevention efforts to an organization that helps people with disabilities acquire assistive technologies to improve the quality of their lives.
Each of the five AARP Purpose Prize winners will receive a $50,000 award for their organization. AARP also announced 10 AARP Purpose Prize fellows, who will be honored for the mission-focused work of the organizations they lead and will receive a $5,000 award to further the mission.
Alongside the Purpose Prize winners and fellows, AARP is presenting Golden Globe award-winning actor and activist Glenn Close with an honorary Purpose Prize Award for her work with Bring Change to Mind, a charity dedicated to confronting, head-on, the stigma associated with mental illness. The organization works to normalize mental health conversations and build the awareness, understanding and empathy necessary to inspire action, structural change, and the creation of new norms which will end stigma and discrimination. The idea for the organization came about following Close’s first-hand observation of battles with mental illness within her family.
“I commend this year’s AARP Purpose Prize winners and fellows for their dedication and commitment to serving people of all ages during these challenging times,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “These older adults inspire and show us how our own life experiences can be used to find creative and innovative solutions to help others and make a difference in communities across the country.”
The honorees will be recognized at a virtual awards celebration on Dec. 3.
The 2021 AARP Purpose Prize winners are:
Mark Barden – Newtown, Conn. – Sandy Hook Promise
After his son, Daniel, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Barden co-founded Sandy Hook Promise, an organization that aims to prevent shootings, violence and other harmful acts to help keep schools and communities safe.
Cindy Eggleton – Pleasant Ridge, Mich. – Brilliant Detroit
Eggleton co-founded Brilliant Detroit, an organization that builds family centers in high-need neighborhoods for families with children up to 8 years old. Brilliant Detroit homes provide families with year-round support and the necessities to be school-ready, healthy and stable.
Hope Harley – Bronx, N.Y. – Bronx Children’s Museum
Harley is president of the Bronx Children’s Museum, which seeks to inspire children, their families and caregivers to learn about themselves within the richness and diversity of their surroundings and beyond.
Arturo Noriega – Pacifica, Calif. – Centro Community Partners
Noriega is the founder and CEO of Centro Community Partners, a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurship education, access to capital and business advisory and mentorship to low-income minorities.
Susan Tachau – Bala Cynwyd, Pa. – Pennsylvania Assistive Technology
Tachau is a co-founder and CEO of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, a nonprofit that helps individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians acquire the assistive technology devices and services they need.
This year’s AARP Purpose Prize fellows are:
Jerilyn Brusseau – Bainbridge Island, Wash. – PeaceTrees Vietnam
Liz Fanning – New York, N.Y. – CorpsAfrica
Patricia Funegra – Arlington, Va. – La Cocina VA
Andrea Ivory – Miami, Fla. – Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative
Robin Kelleher – Springfield, Va. – Hope For The Warriors
Sharon Love – Cockeysville, Md. – One Love Foundation in honor of Yeardley Love
Donna Odom – Kalamazoo, Mich. – SHARE (Society for History and Racial Equity)
Ngozi Okaro – New York, N.Y. – Custom Collaborative
Katherine Soll – New York, N.Y. – Teens for Food Justice
Lisa Thurau – Cambridge, Mass. – Strategies for Youth