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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:

Ashton Applewhite 

Author and activist Ashton Applewhite is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against AgeismIn 2016, she joined PBS site Next Avenue’s annual list of 50 Influencers in Aging as their Influencer of the Year. She has been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, has written for Harper’s, Playboy, and the New York Times, and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? She speaks widely, at venues that have ranged from universities and community centers to the TED main stage and the United Nations.

Karen Baker

Karen Baker was appointed the Secretary of Service and Volunteering in January 2006 by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and is serving as California’s Chief Service Officer for California Volunteers under Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.  Her 20-plus-year career includes serving as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member, executive director of Chrysalis (a homeless nonprofit in Los Angeles), deputy director of AmeriCorps VISTA and Director of Special Projects for the CEO at the Corporation for National and Community Service during the Clinton administration, Director of Innovation at Share Our Strength and Managing Partner of Valley Vision. She has a B.A. in Sociology from UCLA.  

Suzanne Braun Levine

Suzanne Braun Levine was the first editor of Ms. magazine and the first woman editor in chief of the Columbia Journalism Review. Her books include Inventing the Rest of Our Lives, Fifty Is the New Fifty, How We Love Now and an oral history of Bella Abzug. She produced the Peabody Award-winning documentary She's Nobody's Baby; American Women in the Twentieth Century. She is featured in the PBS/AOL series MAKERS: Women Who Make America and was a presenter at TEDxWomen in 2011.

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. 

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.

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. 

Daisy Expósito-Ulla

Daisy Expósito-Ulla is chairman and CEO of d expósito & Partners. Prior to founding her own agency over a decade ago, she was chairman/CEO of Young & Rubicam/WPP’s the Bravo Group, a company she helped launch and subsequently build during her 24-year tenure. She has achieved a transformational career in cross-cultural brand building, working with clients such as AT&T, Kraft Foods, Bank of America, Pfizer and Census 2000/2010. Among her current clients are McDonald's, AARP, Amica, the U.S. Army and Tajín. During her distinguished career, she has received numerous creative and professional awards such as the Matrix (NYWICI) and the Carnegie Corporation's Great Immigrant: Pride of America honor, the ADCOLOR Lifetime Achievement Award and her agency was named Agency of the Year by the AEF in 2015, a first for a multicultural and independent agency

Marc Freedman

Marc Freedman is founder and CEO of 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.  

Linda P. Fried

Linda P. Fried, dean of the Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health (since 2008), is a public health leader in the fields of epidemiology and geriatrics. She has dedicated her career to the science of healthy aging and defining how to transition to a world where greater longevity benefits people of all ages. Before coming to Columbia, Fried founded the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, directed the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and held joint appointments as a professor in the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. She is a member of National Academy of Medicine and is cochair of the World Economic Forum's Global Council on the Future of Human Enhancement and on the steering committee for their Council on Human Centric Health. Fried is the codesigner and cofounder of Experience Corps, an evidence-based program in which older volunteers serve in public schools in 22 cities, benefiting the academic success of children and health of the volunteers. 

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,, 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.

W. Wilson Goode Sr.

W. Wilson Goode Sr. is the president and CEO of Amachi Inc., a nationally acclaimed faith-based program for mentoring children of incarcerated parents. Goode is also chairman and CEO of Self Inc. He is a senior fellow at the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, he won the Purpose Prize Award. In 1984, he became the first African American mayor of Philadelphia and served two terms. He was the first African American appointed as managing director for the City of Philadelphia and the first African American member and chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Evan Hochberg

Evan Hochberg is the chief strategy officer for United Way Worldwide. He leads United Way’s Network-Wide Strategy that guides the Impact, Revenue, and Operational efforts for the 1,800-affiliate, 41-country worldwide network. He also oversees the Impact, Innovation, Research, and Digital Individual Engagement areas for the organization. Prior to United Way, he was the national director of Corporate Citizenship for Deloitte, where he designed Deloitte’s industry standard-setting Pro Bono program as well as award-winning education initiative. Before Deloitte, he was the managing director of Community Wealth Partners, a leading social innovation consulting firm.

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is the founder of the Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and the author of 15 books, including, most recently, the international bestsellers Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In May 2005, she launched the Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the internet, and in 2012 won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In August 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. 

Jamal Joseph

Jamal Joseph credits the time he spent as a youth in the Black Panther Party and Leavenworth Federal Prison as the fire that forged his creative sword. He is a professor of Professional Practice and the former chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program. He is an accomplished screenwriter and director, and as an artist/activist, he has worked in film, theater, spoken word, music and books. His memoir Panther Baby, based on his experiences as a youth in the Black Panther Party, was published by Algonquin Books. He is also the author of Tupac Legacy, an interactive biography about Tupac Shakur. He is the cofounder and artistic director of IMPACT, a Harlem-based youth theatre company, and executive director of New Heritage Films, a not-for-profit organization that provides training and opportunities for minority filmmakers. He has received a CINE Golden Eagle, a Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award, a Union Square Award, the Purpose Prize and a best song Oscar nomination for the film August Rush.

Gopi Kallayil

Gopi Kallayil is the Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing at Google. He works with Google's sales teams and customers and helps grow customer brands through digital marketing. In his prior roles at Google, he led the marketing team for the company's flagship advertising product AdWords both in the Americas and Asia Pacific. His book, The Internet to the Inner-net, was recently published by Hay House. Learn more at


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.


Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a MacArthur prize-winning sociologist, is the Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education at Harvard University. She is the author of 11 books, including Exit, The Third Chapter, Respect, The Essential Conversation and Balm in Gilead, which won the 1988 Christopher Award for “literary merit and humanitarian achievement.” In 1993, she was awarded Harvard’s George Ledlie Prize for research that makes “the most valuable contribution to science” and is to “the benefit of mankind.” She is the recipient of 31 honorary degrees and is the first African American woman in Harvard’s history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor.

Eric Liu

Eric Liu is the founder and CEO of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. He is the author of several books, including You're More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen (March 2017), A Chinaman's Chance, The Gardens of Democracy and The Accidental Asian. He served as a White House speechwriter and policy adviser for President Bill Clinton. He is a regular columnist for and a correspondent for

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. 

Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist who anchors and produces the Heart Television political magazine program Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien. O’Brien, founder and CEO of Starfish Media Group, also reports for HBO Real Sports, the PBS NewsHour and WebMD, and has authored two books. She has anchored and reported for NBC, CNN and others, winning numerous awards, including three Emmys, the George Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont prize and the Gracie. Newsweek magazine named her one of the 15 People Who Make America Great. With her husband, she is founder of the Starfish Foundation that sends 25 girls to and through college. Follow her on Twitter: @soledadobrien

Peter Osnos

Peter Osnos is the founder of PublicAffairs Books, which marks its 20th anniversary this year. He was previously a correspondent and editor at the Washington Post. He was a vice-president and publisher at Random House Inc. Osnos has been associated with the Encore program from its inception and PublicAffairs has published three books by Marc Freedman, chairman of He has also been a judge of the Purpose Prize for the decade since it was launched. He has served on the boards of a number of nonprofits including Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Journalism.

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.  

Holly Robinson Peete

Actress, author, talk show host, activist and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete’s career as an actress dates back more than three decades. Robinson Peete’s career took off on the Fox television drama 21 Jump Street, and then continued with several other successful television series, including Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, For Your Love and Mike & Molly. Robinson Peete can currently be seen alongside her family in the critically acclaimed docu-series For Peete’s Sake on the OWN network. In 1997, she and her husband, former NFL player Rodney Peete, formed HollyRod Foundation, inspired by her father’s courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease, with the mission to help improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease. In 2005, inspired by their eldest son’s autism diagnosis, HollyRod Foundation’s mission expanded to provide support and resources to those affected by an autism diagnosis. 

Katherina M. Rosqueta

Katherina M. Rosqueta is the founding executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a multidisciplinary center that provides public information, education and advisory services so that philanthropy achieves greater social impact. A frequent speaker on philanthropy and social impact, her work and comments have been cited in numerous media outlets including the New York Times, National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal and Money magazine. She has held numerous civic leadership positions, currently serving on the board of GuideStar and as cochair of GreenLight Fund Philadelphia.

Fred Ruiz

Ruiz Foods started in California's Central San Joaquin Valley in 1964, founded by Fred and Louis Ruiz. Fred Ruiz serves as a member of the board of directors for the Campaign for College Opportunity, he is on the President's Advisory Board for California State University, Fresno; is an advisor to the Institute for Family Business at Fresno State's School of Business; on the board of trustees for the University of California, Merced; on the board of directors for the California Chamber of Commerce; and is on the board of directors for McClatchy Newspapers. In 2004, Ruiz was appointed as a regent for the University of California. 

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.

Timothy Shriver

Timothy Shriver serves as chairman of Special Olympics. Before joining Special Olympics in 1996, Shriver was and remains a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning. He cofounded and chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading school reform organization in the field of social and emotional learning. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, cochairman of the National Commission on Social and Emotional Learning, president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, member of the board of directors for the WPP Group LLC and is a co-founder of Lovin’ Scoopful Ice Cream Company. Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a master's degree from Catholic University and a doctorate in education from the University of Connecticut.  

Wendy Spencer

Wendy Spencer serves as the president of Leadership Florida. She just completed a five-year term as the chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS is the federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service each year through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and general volunteering in every state. From 2003 to 2012, she served Governors Rick Scott, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush as the CEO of the Florida Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism. She has served on numerous local, state and national boards and councils, including the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation under President George W. Bush, and as chair of the American Association of State Service Commissions. Before joining Volunteer Florida, she served as the director of the Florida Park Service and has held positions within the private sector, nonprofits and legislative work. She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts and Speech Communications from Valdosta State University.

Marlo Thomas

Marlo Thomas is an actress, author and activist who has been awarded four Emmys, the Peabody, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive. She burst onto the scene as That Girl, television’s first independent working woman, and went on to create the historic children’s record, book and TV special Free to Be ... You and Me. She remains a constant presence on television and the Broadway stage and has produced seven bestselling books, including The Right Words at the Right Time and her memoir, Growing Up Laughing. She is national outreach director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is married to talk show pioneer Phil Donahue.

Linda Watt

Linda Watt is a spiritual director, Latin America expert and nonprofit board member. She served as chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, and was U.S. Ambassador to Panama, the culmination of a 29-year career as a Foreign Service Officer. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Belizean Grove and has served on prominent nonprofit boards, including Episcopal Relief and Development and Pro Mujer. On behalf of, she explored how faith communities support the efforts of people over 50 to effect positive societal change. She serves on the Episcopal Church’s task force for relations with the church in Cuba. Linda and her husband, Leo Duncan, live in Asheville, N.C.


Angela Williams

Angela Williams oversees Y-USA’s legal, governance and support center functions and is its primary liaison to the Jerusalem International YMCA. She joined Y-USA in December 2006 from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, where she served as an interfaith liaison/program advisor. Williams has 30 years of legal experience. Previous positions include vice president and deputy general counsel for Sears, Roebuck & Co.; attorney for Bryan Cave LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based international law firm; Special Counsel on Criminal Law for Sen. Edward Kennedy; trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s National Church Arson Task Force; and Assistant U.S. Attorney in Florida. She also is an ordained minister and pastor at Fellowship Community Church of Chicago. Williams holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law, a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.


David Winston

David Winston is president of the Winston Group, a Washington, D.C., strategic planning and survey research firm. Winston has been an advisor to congressional Republican leadership for over 15 years and was the keynote speaker at the 2012 G8 Presiding Officer summit. He was formerly director of planning for Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and advises center-right political parties throughout Europe. In the private sector, he advises Fortune 100 companies on strategic planning and brand reputation. His writings have appeared in a variety of publications. Winston played a key role in developing the 2010 election cycle narrative “where are the jobs” and is an election analyst for CBS News.

Harris Wofford

Harris Wofford is a Senator from Pennsylvania who served as an advisor to Martin Luther King and on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  Under President Kennedy, he served as the President’s Special Assistant for Civil Rights and helped launch the Peace Corps.  While at the Peace Corps, he became director of Ethiopia’s program and served as Special Representative to Africa. On his return from Africa, he became the Peace Corps Associate Director. He has also served as an associate professor at Notre Dame Law School, President of the State University of New York’s new College at Old Westbury and President of Bryn Mawr College.  Returning to public sector in the 1980’s, he served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor and Industry and was appointed Senator. In 1995, he became CEO for Corporation for National Service (Americorps) and then co-chairman of America’s Promise: The Alliance for Youth