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Meet the AARP Purpose Prize Fellows

En español | The AARP Purpose Prize award recognizes the work of these fellows who are using their life experience to build a better future for us all.

Jerilyn Brusseau

Cofounder, PeaceTrees Vietnam 

“Take the time to become grounded in your vision and your purpose. Then, call people you never imagined calling so that you can meet and generate connections.”

Liz Fanning

Founder and Executive Director, CorpsAfrica

“I always say I never knew what I wanted to do but I spent my career preparing for it. Also, don’t be afraid to fail. Just roll up your sleeves and get to work.”

Patricia Funegra

Founder and CEO, La Cocina VA

“Many people told me not to do all this because I wasn’t ready but I believe that the key to success is to start before you are ready.”  

Andrea Ivory

Founder and Executive Director, The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative

“I’ve learned that if you change the life of a woman, you change the life of the family, and ultimately you change the community, too.”

Robin Kelleher

Founder, President and CEO, Hope for the Warriors

“Recognize that making an impact doesn’t have to be front-page news. Simply being a good and kind person will make a positive impact.” 

Sharon Love

Founder, One Love Foundation

“Follow your heart. You just have to jump in and hope what you do is right. You may need to tweak it or change your direction as time goes on.”

Donna Odom

Executive Director, Society for History and Racial Equity

“Be very clear about what you want to accomplish: Identify the problems you see and what you want to accomplish, then hone in on that. Focus is so important.”

Ngozi Okaro

Executive Director, Custom Collaborative

“When you bring together different generations, ethnicities and genders to imagine and execute a project, you send the message that all people have value. It promotes equity and inclusion.”

Katherine Soll

CEO, Cofounder and President, Teens For Food Justice

“Be collaborative and get input from the people you want to serve. In addition, seek out advisers, thought leaders and partnerships that will help you understand existing efforts.”

Lisa H. Thurau

Founder and Executive Director, Strategies for Youth

“People can influence their own communities in myriad ways. They can lobby state legislators. They can press their cities to invest in under-resourced communities.”