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Jane Goodall, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honoree

— Photo by Chris Crisman



Inspire Awards Honorees

For the 10th year, AARP The Magazine salutes outstanding individuals who are using their energy, creativity, and passion to make the world a better place.

Jane Goodall


Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots & Shoots, the institute’s global environmental program for youth. Read

Steve Jobs, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Steve Jobs

Game Changer

Over three decades, he developed wildly inventive products and merged art with technology. Read

Daniel Inouye, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye

Chief Compromiser

The most senior member of the U.S. Senate, Inouye's secret to success is his commitment to common courtesy. Read

Andy Czerkas, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Andy Czerkas

AARP Foundation Hunger Hero

Czerkas' The River Food Pantry in Madison, Wisconsin, distributes 25,000 pounds of food each week to up to 600 families. Read

Pat Summitt, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Pat Summitt

Alzheimer's Advocate

The head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, Summitt announced her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Read

Irene Zola, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Irene Zola

Crusader for the Elderly

Zola founded Lifeforce in Later Years, a nonprofit whose goal is to improve the quality of life for every community’s oldest members. Read

Toby Keith, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Toby Keith

Supporter of U.S. Troops

In addition to his USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tours, he sponsors a program that distributes care packages to remote U.S. bases abroad. Read

Hilton Kelley, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Hilton Kelly

Environmental Activist

Kelly's organization trains Gulf Coast citizens to measure toxic-air levels and, when necessary, sues polluters. Read

Arizona Shooting Heroes

Ret. Army Col. Bill Badger, Patricia Maisch, Roger Salzgeber

Their heroic acts brought down gunman Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson, Arizona. Read

Emilio Estefan, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honoree

Emilio Estefan Jr.

Latino Promoter

He cochaired a congressional commission that created a “plan of action” for a museum celebrating Latinos in America. Read


2011 Inspire Awards

Tony Danza

Motivating Students

At 59, the actor wowed skeptics after stepping into a classroom at Northeast High in Philadelphia to teach 10th-grade English. Watch

Lisa Niemi Swayze

Searching for a Cure

After losing her husband, actor Patrick Swayze, to pancreatic cancer, she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease. Watch

Pedro José Greer Jr., M.D.

Caring for the Poor

A resolute advocate for those in need, Dr. Pedro José Greer Jr. cares for 10,000 homeless patients every year. Watch

Maya Angelou

Andrus Award Winner

She is one of the most important voices of our time with a long list of accomplishments. Her latest? A book about smart eating. Read

Joy Behar & Eve Behar Scotti

Tackling Heart Disease

This mother-daughter team is spreading the word about the warning signs of heart attacks in women and how to tackle them head on. Watch

Helen Gayle, M.D.

Fighting Global Poverty

Her passion is to help people rebuild. As head of CARE, her new mission is empowering women and girls in the developing world. Watch

Henry Winkler

Helping Stroke Victims

The award-winning actor is lending his star power to help an estimated 1 million Americans affected by upper limb spasticity. Watch

Sandy Chen Stokes

Breaking Cultural Taboos

As founder of the Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care, she is working to help families prepare for end-of-life care. Watch

Elizabeth Warren

Fixing Finances

An expert on debt's negative effect on families, she aims to protect millions of Americans from bad banking practices. Watch



Daring Director

At almost 80, the man known for the withering squint and whispery call to "make my day" is working harder than ever. Read


Voice for Parkinson's

The wife of Muhammad Ali plays multiple roles — partner, caregiver, and public voice for more research into Parkinson's disease. Read


Bridge for Generation

The founder of Hope Meadows started a community for parents adopting foster children that grew into a widely regarded model for intergenerational life. Read


Latino Health Activist

The doctor and Latino health advocate collects data to enact policies that promote good health, prevent disease, and control chronic illnesses. Read


Voice of the Caregiver

The TV and radio host started a foundation to provide caregivers with resources for ensuring their own health and well-being. Read


Cancer Crusader

The ice skater and cancer survivor established the CARES Initiative, which has raised $10 million for research and cancer awareness. Read


Education Advocate

The radio host started a foundation to address declining enrollments and shrinking endowments at black colleges and universities. Read


Equal-pay Advocate

The former night-shift supervisor sued her employer for equal pay, prompting Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Read


Reluctant Hero

The captain's fast, focused thinking saved his crew from machine-gun-wielding Somali pirates. Read


Advocate for Cancer Survivors

Since 2000, Welch and Hair U Wear have donated more than $1 million worth of wigs annually to the American Cancer Society. Read

2009 Inspire Awards

Glenn Close

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Glen Close

Mental Health Advocate

The actress and activist has embraced the effort to remove the stigma of mental disease. Watch

Richard M. Cohen

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Richard Cohen

Voice for the Chronically Ill

The former CBS reporter with multiple sclerosis is a tireless advocate for people with chronic disease. Read

Martin Eakes

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Martin Eakes

Lender to the Poor

This Durham, N.C., entrepreneur created a community credit union. Read

Katherine Freund

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Katherine Freund

Transportation Activist

She created a nonprofit that last year offered more than 30,000 rides to seniors in eight states. Read

Peter Gallagher

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Peter Gallagher

Alzheimer's Activist

The actor has immersed himself in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s. Read

David E. Hayes-Bautista

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - David E. Hayes-Bautista

Latino-Health Researcher

Compassion and a love of data fuel his fight for health care access. Read

Quincy Jones

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Quincy Jones

Global Poverty Fighter

The musician and entertainer devotes his free time to helping poor children throughout the world. Read

Susan Love, M.D.

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Susan Love

Cancer Crusader

Cofounder of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, she works to accelerate the search for a cure. Read

Rose Nakamura

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Rose Nakamura

Compassionate Caregiver

Her program provides caregiving services for 1,000 older residents in Hawaii. Read

Alma Powell

Inspire Award Honoree 2009 - Alma Powell

Children's Advocate

She co-founded America's Promise Alliance, a children's aid organization. Read

2008 Inspire Awards

Caroline Kennedy

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Caroline Kennedy

Scion of Public Service

She uses her personal power to help those less fortunate. Read

Ed Boyer

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Edward Boyer

Pilot with a Mission

He founded the first medical-air-transportation charity in the United States. Read

Pete C. Garcia

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Pete Garcia

Affordable-housing Advocate

His nonprofit community-development corporation offers elder housing and employment training services. Read

Roslyn Hill

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Roslyn Hill

Urban-blight Fighter

She works to beautify — and revitalize — her city of Portland, Ore. Read

Cynthia Kenyon

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Cynthia Kenyon

Longevity Researcher

This molecular biologist discovered that aging can be turned on and off. Read

Gladys Knight

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Gladys Knight

Health Crusader

Experience and love fuel her passion for diabetes prevention. Read

Liviu Librescu

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Liviu Librescu


He sacrificed his own life to protect others. Read

Barbara Morgan

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Barbara Morgan

Educator Turned Astronaut

Her out-of-this-world determination inspires passion for science. Read

Gary Sinise

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Gary Sinise

Protector of Children

The actor's charitable organization has delivered more than 200,000 school kits to Iraqi children. Read

Helen Thomas

Inspire Award Honoree 2008 - Helen Thomas

First Amendment Defender

This iconic newswoman grilled (and sometimes angered) nine presidents. Read

2007 Inspire Awards

Robert De Niro

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Robert DeNiro

Tribeca Film Festival

He used his star power to help heal post-9/11 New York. Read

Elouise Cobell

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Elouise Cobell

American Indian Rights Activist

Her quest for justice revealed massive fraud of Indian revenues. Read

Jim Douglas

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Gov. Jim Douglas

Vermont Governor

He unites political parties to make health insurance affordable. Read

Valerie Harper

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Valerie Harper

The Hunger Project

The Emmy-winning actress works to eradicate hunger while empowering women in developing countries. Read

Shirley Ann Jackson

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Shirley Ann Jackson

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

She's an energetic crusader for math and science education. Read

Jim Larranaga

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Jim Larranaga

George Mason University

The coach's winning basketball team inspired others to reach beyond expectations. Read

Jack McConnell, M.D.

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Jack McConnell

Volunteers in Medicine Clinic

He brings medical care to the poor — and doctors out of retirement. Read

David Hyde Pierce

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - David Hyde Pierce

Alzheimer's Association

The actor and comedian battles the disease in memory of his parents. Read

Cordelia Taylor

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Cordelia Taylor

Family House

She renovated a troubled city block into an innovative long-term care complex. Read

Marlo Thomas

Inspire Award Honoree 2007 - Marlo Thomas

St. Jude's Children's Hospital

The actress uses her celebrity to raise money and awareness for treatment of pediatric cancers. Read

2006 Inspire Awards

Community Crusaders

These impressive go-getters get involved, give back, and make a difference in the world. Read

2005 Inspire Awards

Ten Who Dared

These ten compassionate, forward-thinking people are making the world a better place and inspiring others to action. Read

2004 Inspire Awards

Action Heroes

Meet ten inspirational individuals who had the courage to change our world. Read

2003 Inspire Awards

The Fearless Fifty

Meet America’s greatest innovators over 50 — thinkers and doers who rewrite the rules (and then refuse to follow them). Read


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