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Homeless Outreach Becomes a Life Calling for Purpose Prize Honoree

Allan Barsema has indigents at heart

Here's a look at the other winners of the $100,000 Purpose Prize:

  • Former corporate executive Barry Childs, 66, of Marylhurst Ore., grew up in Tanzania and returned to start Africa Bridge to help AIDS orphans. His organization builds classrooms, clinics and income-generating farming cooperatives for orphans' caregivers.
  • Housekeeper Margaret Gordon, 63, learned that pollution from the nearby Oakland, Calif., port contributed to rampant asthma that affected her family and community. She became an activist and later mayor-appointed commissioner to the busy container port. Gordon also cofounded West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to fight pollution in her community.
  • Inez Killingsworth, 72, realized predatory lending practices led to foreclosures in her Cleveland neighborhood. She started Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People, a foreclosure counseling agency to help homeowners negotiate with banks for more favorable terms and payment plans. The program now runs statewide and more than 80 percent of clients have loans modified.
  • As a hospital administrator, Judith Van Ginkel, 71, of Cincinnati knew the importance of in-home counseling for first-time, low-income mothers. She launched Every Child Succeeds to provide home visits by social workers until a child turns 3. The program has helped 16,500 families.

And these are $50,000 winners:

  • Barbara Chandler Allen, a former art museum administrator, created Fresh Artists to help fund art supplies in Philadelphia schools. Businesses and organizations donate money in return for large-scale reproductions of artwork created by K-12 students to display in offices. Fresh Artists uses the money to buy art supplies for under-resourced schools.
  • Former corporate lawyer Dana Freyer, 66, of New York cofounded Global Partnership for Afghanistan to help rural Afghans revitalize woodlots, vineyards and orchards. More than 12,000 Afghans have planted 8 million trees in 12 provinces, with the potential of providing a healthy income to residents in one of the poorest countries in the world.
  • Hubert Jones, 76, devoted a long career to resolving racial tensions by building nonprofit organizations and serving as the first-ever African American dean of the Boston University School of Social Work. As an encore, Jones founded the Boston Children's Chorus, bringing together children ages 7 to 18 of diverse racial, religious and economic backgrounds to perform around the world.
  • Former psychologist Donald Stedman, 79, of Raleigh, N.C., has a 15-year-old grandson with autism. He started New Voices Foundation to help students with serious disabilities thrive in public schools. The nonprofit has trained more than 50 teachers in five school districts and plans to open a school soon.
  • Bo Webb, 61, retired to his family home in Whitesville, W.Va., expecting to enjoy the majestic mountains. Instead the former businessman discovered the coal industry was blasting mountaintops to expose coal, destroying at least 500 mountains and burying 2,000 miles of streams. He joined the board of Coal River Mountain Watch, and enlists prominent environmentalists, celebrities and coalfield residents in a movement to abolish surface mining.


Elizabeth Pope is a writer in Portland, Maine.

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