Skip to content

The jury for the AARP Purpose Prize award is an independent panel of leaders in the fields of journalism, nonprofits, academia, innovation/technology and entertainment. These distinguished individuals were selected for their experience and judgment. After a rigorous vetting process, the jury makes recommendations about who should receive the AARP Purpose Prizes. The AARP CEO makes the final decisions.

The jury members are:

John Bridgeland

John Bridgeland is founder & CEO of Civic Enterprises, vice chair of the Service Year Alliance at the Aspen Institute, Co-Convener of Grad Nation and vice chairman of Malaria No More. Previously, Bridgeland was appointed by President Obama to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions. He also served as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Assistant to the President of the United States and first director of the USA Freedom Corps under President George W. Bush. He was a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law. 

Donna Butts

Donna Butts has been the executive director of Generations United since 1997. Previously she served in leadership positions at the YWCA, National 4-H Council and Covenant House. Butts is an internationally known speaker, author and advocate. She has served on five United Nations expert panels and is a graduate of Stanford University’s Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. She has been recognized three times by the NonProfit Times as one of the top 50 most powerful and influential nonprofit executives in the nation. In 2015, she was named one of the “Top 50 Influencers in Aging” by the Next Avenue journalism website.

Jennie Chin Hansen

Jennie Chin Hansen, former president of the AARP Board of Directors, is the immediate past CEO of the American Geriatrics Society. Prior service includes nearly 25 years with On Lok Inc., a family of community-based organizations helping seniors live independently for as long as possible. She serves on several boards, including the SCAN Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Dignity Health. She also serves on the American Hospital Association (AHA) Equity of Care Committee, the national Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Gerontology and Geriatrics, and the Department of HHS’ National Institutes of Health-National Advisory Council on Aging. In 2011, Hansen completed a six-year term as a federal commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). She is also the 2015 National Influencer on Aging by PBS' Next Avenue. 

Yanira Cruz

Yanira Cruz is the president and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging. In addition, she serves on the board of Justice in Aging and is a member of the Leaders of Aging Organizations (LAO) collaborative. She is also a founding member of the Diverse Elders Coalition. She is an executive member of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. She previously served on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, which advise the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the George Washington University School of Public Health.

Marc Freedman

Marc Freedman is founder and CEO of Encore.org. A former Visiting Scholar at Stanford, he is a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Experts panel, a frequent commentator in the national media and the author of four books, most recently The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife. Freedman cofounded Experience Corps and spearheaded the creation of the Purpose Prize. He has been honored as a Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum, named one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs by Fast Company magazine three years in a row and honored with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.  

John Gomperts

John Gomperts has been president and CEO at America’s Promise Alliance since 2012. Prior to joining America’s Promise, he served as the director of AmeriCorps. Over the course of his career, Gomperts has served in leadership roles in the U.S. Senate, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Encore.org, and the Public Education Network, among others. He serves on the boards of FoodCorps, the News Literacy Project, and Politics and Prose Bookstore. Gomperts graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and earned his J.D. from Georgetown University.

Evan Hochberg

Evan Hochberg is the President of Crown Family Philanthropies where he leads the impact and family engagement efforts of one of the most charitable families in the world. Evan has held a number of leadership positions across the social sector including Chief Strategy Officer at United Way Worldwide, National Director of Corporate Citizenship at Deloitte, and Managing Director at Community Wealth Partners a leading social innovation consulting firm.  His early career included experiences as a management consultant at Booz-Allen and Hamilton as well as nonprofit program positions at Melwood, March of Dimes, and the Phoenix Center for Education.  Evan has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MMHS from the Heller Graduate School at Brandeis University.

Sherry Lansing

During nearly 30 years in the movie business, Sherry Lansing was involved in the production, marketing and distribution of more than 200 films, including Academy Award winners Forrest Gump, Braveheart and Titanic. In 1992 she was named chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. In 1980 she was appointed president of 20th Century Fox, becoming the first woman to head a major film studio. As CEO of the nonprofit Sherry Lansing Foundation since 2005, Lansing’s missions are cancer research, public education and encore career opportunities. She is a cofounder of Stand Up To Cancer and founder of the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program.

 

Michelle Nunn

Michelle Nunn is president/CEO of CARE USA, a poverty-fighting and leading humanitarian organization working in more than 90 countries. She has spent 27 years in civic and public service, as a social entrepreneur, CEO for volunteer nonprofits Hands On Atlanta and Points of Light, and a candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia. The NonProfit Times has named her seven times to its annual Power and Influence Top 50 list, and Georgia Trend magazine named her one of its 100 Most Influential Georgians. 

Clarence Page

Clarence Page, the 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary, is a columnist syndicated nationally by Tribune Content Agency and a member of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. He also has been a regular contributor of essays to the PBS NewsHour, a panelist on the McLaughlin Group, MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, ABC's Nightline, BET's Lead Story news panel programs and a commentator on NPR and WGN-TV. He received lifetime achievement awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the Chicago Headline Club and the National Association of Black Journalists. In 1992, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.  

Dr. Bettye Perkins

Bettye Perkins is an educator and former IBM executive who has spent the past 17 years developing and implementing educational programs to enhance the academic achievement of young people in New York and throughout the northeast. She is the recipient of many awards and proclamations acknowledging her outstanding achievement in educational leadership including the Special Parent Honoree Award from the New York State Education Department and the Pathfinder Award from the New York State Association of Women in Administration. Dr. Perkins was also awarded the 2018 AARP Purpose Prize.

Kimon Sargeant

Kimon Sargeant is Vice President, Programs at the John Templeton Foundation. He oversees the Human Sciences, Character Virtue Development, and Individual Freedom & Free Markets departments. Sargeant is responsible for developing new initiatives on virtues such as generosity, purpose and gratitude, as well as projects that analyze global trends in religion and spirituality. Previously Sargeant served as a program officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts. He is the author of Seeker Churches: Promoting Traditional Religion in a Nontraditional Way and coeditor of Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism.

Kurt L. Schmoke 

Kurt L. Schmoke was appointed as the University of Baltimore’s eighth president as of July 7, 2014. Schmoke served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1987 to 1999 and was the Baltimore City State’s Attorney from 1982 to 1987. Prior to joining UB, he was dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., from 2003 to 2012. Following that, he was appointed general counsel for Howard and also served as the institution’s interim provost. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush awarded him the National Literacy Award for his efforts to promote adult literacy. Two years later, President Bill Clinton praised his programs aimed at improving public housing and enhancing community-based economic development. Schmoke earned his undergraduate degree in history from Yale University. He pursued graduate studies on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University and earned his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

Donnie Simpson

Donnie Simpson is a trailblazer and a true media legend. His career in radio started at age 15 in Detroit. At 23 he headed to Washington D.C. where he had tremendous success in radio and TV. Billboard magazine named him their #1 Program Director of The Year, and Air Personality of The Year in 1983.

In 1981, Donnie paved his way into television history when he became one of the nation’s first video jockeys as host of BET’s ultra-popular Video Soul program. In 2014, he was the only non-musician inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame.

Susan Taylor

Best-selling author Susan L. Taylor is a fourth-generation entrepreneur. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renowned brand with more than 8 million readers. It was that enterprising spirit wedded to a deep love for her community, that led to the founding of the National CARES Mentoring Movement (originally known as Essence Cares) in 2006. A community mobilization movement, National CARES is the only organization dedicated to providing mentoring, healing and wellness services on a national scale for black children.

Antonio Tijerino

Antonio Tijerino is president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which focuses on education, workforce development and community service through connectivity, innovation, leadership and cultural pride. Under Tijerino’s leadership, HHF is recognized as a creative, agile, impact-focused organization that boasts a network of 150,000 vetted Latinos (15- to 35-year-olds) mobilized in the STEM fields, entrepreneurship, finance, media and other priority areas for America. Tijerino also serves as executive producer of the star-studded Hispanic Heritage Awards broadcast on PBS stations. Prior to HHF, Tijerino worked at Fannie Mae Foundation, Nike, and Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe.