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Meet the AARP Purpose Prize Fellows

En español | Making a difference doesn’t stop as you age. Millions of older adults are using their experience to give back, solve problems, and change lives. The AARP Purpose Prize award recognizes the work of these fellows who are using their life experience to make the world a better place for people of all ages.

Founders, Understood.org

In October 2014, Mark and Kristy launched Understood.org, a website devoted to providing resources and support to the parents of children with learning disabilities. To date, Understood.org has assisted more than two million individuals each month, including parents, grandparents and teachers.

Cofounder and Chief Technologist, AskMyBuddy 

After experience a medical emergency, and with more than two decades of work experience in the software industry, Patrick Coggins combined these experiences to develop Ask My Buddy, a free service that uses voice-activated technology to allow seniors and others to easily request help using only their voice.

Founder, Las Comadres Para Las Americas 

In 2000, Nora Comstock founded Las Comadres Para Las Americas, an informal group that meets monthly in U.S. cities across the country to build connections and community among Latinas. Las Comadres empowers Latina women to embrace their culture, step up in their careers, run for office, and otherwise improve the Latino community.

CEO of Appalachian Community Capital
 

Donna Gambrell is the CEO of Appalachian Community Capital (ACC) a non-profit that raises money and makes low-cost loans available to small businesses in Appalachia. Since 2015, ACC has raised almost $20 million in equity, grants and debt capital, which has been used to finance more than 50 small businesses and create or retain more than 1,000 jobs in the region.    

Founder and Director of Recycle Health
 

Recycle Health is a nonprofit that provides donated fitness trackers to underserved populations to help them increase their health and fitness. Founder Lisa Gualtieri wanted Recycle Health to help the many people who found digital health technology either too expensive, too hard to set up and use, and to reach those who would benefit the most from using them. 

Founder and Executive Director, Media for the Public Good

While a small number of media programs target LGBTQ adults, LGBTQ youth are a population without a voice in the media. Marc Sophos wanted to provide a voice for this community. He founded Media for The Public Good, and developed public radio programs and podcasts including OutCasting and OutCasting Overtime, featuring young LGBTQ voices. 

Executive Director and Cofounder of Beyond Differences

Laura Talmus’ daughter was born with Apert Syndrome, a genetic disorder that distorted her face and hands; as a result of the social isolation her daughter felt at school for being “different, ” Laura founded Beyond Differences, an organization that’s focused on ending social isolation in middle schools across the country.

Founder and President of Share the Care
 

Share the Care is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for anyone who needs support, and aims to reduce the stress, isolation, and economic hardship of caregivers.  The model for the organization was born in 1988 Sheila Warnock wanted to find a way to make things manageable by developing systems of care. 

CEO, Sweet Readers
 

Karen Young started Sweet Readers with her daughter and mother in 2011. Sweet Readers mission is to empower trained middle school students to revitalize adults living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. To date, their programs have engaged more than 18,500 teens and 7,500 adults, in 39 communities in three countries.