Every year the AARP Purpose Prize™ award honors 5 exceptional individuals who have tapped their wealth of experience to foster enduring and innovative positive social impacts. After a rigorous review process, recipients of this prestigious award each receive $50,000 to celebrate their achievements and to hopefully help broaden the scope of their work. Included within the AARP Purpose Prize is the Andrus Prize for Intergenerational Excellence. This award celebrates the legacy of AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. Dr. Andrus was an innovative educator and social change agent. The Andrus Prize for Intergenerational Excellence recognizes work that brings multiple generations together for a better community.
We are looking for everyday people who do extraordinary things with their life experience to create social change. Consider nominating someone (or yourself) who is:
Applications will go through a rigorous review process based on the following criteria:
Yes, the candidate can operate in a paid or unpaid capacity — working as a volunteer, receiving a stipend or paid a salary. Some AARP Purpose Prize applicants receive income for their current work; others donate their time.
No. We strongly encourage nominations for people who are using innovative approaches and systems to substantially transform existing programs or organizations. This can be in the nonprofit, public or private sectors. However, simply applying strong management skills to improve an organization’s performance is not sufficient to be selected.
No. Candidates can work for different kinds of organizations: nonprofits, government agencies, social purpose ventures, hybrid organizations that mix elements of for-profit and nonprofit, or profit-making ventures. As long as the work is leading to positive social change and has had a significant impact at the local, regional, national or global level, it is eligible.
Yes. However, each individual in the partnership must meet all the criteria and must share substantively in the transformation or creation of the program/organization.
Yes. If so, on the application, make sure to select 'International' geographic scope. That indicates that the candidate’s work primarily benefits people living outside the US borders.
While AARP does not limit the types of social impact issues that will be considered, it will strongly consider candidates who work in areas of particular concern to AARP; specifically:
Past AARP Purpose Prize winners have been involved in issues as diverse as:
Yes. However, in general we are looking for individuals who have not been widely recognized outside their geographic area or their field of work.
Creative endeavors that do not include social impact work will not be considered. Also, we cannot evaluate the merit of certain types of innovations. Here are some examples:
No. Anyone who meets the criteria listed above is eligible.
The AARP Purpose Prize is not a lifetime achievement award. Rather, it is meant as an award to celebrate how individuals are using their life experience and creativity to make a difference on important social issues.
As noted above, the candidate needs to be at least 50 years old at the time of the application deadline and have started the work at age 40 or older.
The following categories of people are not eligible:
NOTE: Applicants selected for consideration as finalists must disclose any current or prior financial relationship or other support they have received from AARP, AARP Foundation, AARP Services, Inc., or members of the AARP Purpose Prize panel of reviewers or jury. Other support includes but is not limited to: technical assistance, promotion and advocacy. A current or prior relationship, financial or otherwise, does not immediately disqualify an applicant, but such factors will be considered in finalizing a diverse pool of winners. Similarly, AARP Purpose Prize reviewers and jurors as well as staff and Board Members of all AARP entities are required to disclose any current or prior relationship to any AARP Purpose Prize candidates. Volunteers and staff are not allowed to nominate themselves or family members. AARP reserves the right to disqualify any applicant at any time and for any reason should AARP determine that the application does not properly represent the organization/program’s mission, goals and policies.
An independent panel of jurors recommends a final slate of winners. Jurors are distinguished national leaders selected for their experience and judgment. Based upon the jury recommendations, the AARP CEO determines the final winners.
Each of the AARP Purpose Prize winners will receive $50,000. There are no restrictions on how the money may be used by the winners. Most past winners have used the money to further the work of their organizations, but that is not required. Our hope is that the funds are a down payment on future work for the greater social good.
Note: All taxes associated with the acceptance and/or uses of cash awarded are the sole responsibility of individual winners. Cash awarded will be reported by AARP on an IRS Form 1099. It is further the policy of AARP: That all AARP Purpose Prize winners of cash awards be advised to consult with their own tax professionals and/or legal counsel to ascertain the tax impact of receiving such cash awards, whether such applicable winners do or do not elect to divert their awards to an eligible non-profit organization.
Willingness to share your personal story with others is critical. We seek individuals who will make an excellent representative of the AARP Purpose Prize and who can be role models for others who are using their life experience to make a difference.
The AARP Purpose Prize was created in 2006 by Encore.org (then called Civic Ventures) to recognize the power of older adults to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. In the past ten years, nearly 10,000 PP nominations were received, almost 500 winners and fellows were recognized and awarded over $5 million in prizes to social entrepreneurs working in fields as diverse as early childhood education to eradicating homelessness.
In 2016, the prize came to AARP from Encore.org. Under the leadership of AARP’s CEO, Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP is committed to giving the AARP Purpose Prize an even bigger ‘stage’ to tell the story of remarkable people using their life experiences and creativity to have a lasting social impact.