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2019 AARP Purpose Prize Winners Skip to content

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En español | Purpose Prize honorees give back to their communities with a generosity of spirit that is at once impossible to match and irresistibly contagious. They are living their best lives so we can live ours.    

Georgette Bennett, Ph.D. 

Founder, Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees 

“The impact of this work has been profound and life-transforming. I’ve seen Syrians and Israelis rise above politics, suspicion, and hatred to work together, laugh together, and encounter each other as human beings rather than stereotypes.”

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo

Founder and CEO, Latino U College Access

“Recognize that making a difference starts with just one person, one idea. By taking a single step and surrounding yourself with others who share your passion, you can accomplish incredible things.”

Paul Leon

CEO/president, Illumination Foundation

“Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked. There will be days of difficulty, doubt and frustration — days when you want to quit and say, ‘I’ve had enough. How am I ever going to move the needle further?’ Stay the course.”

   
 

Sister Edna Lonergan 

Recipient of 2019-2020 Andrus Award for Intergenerational Excellence and Founder/president, St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care

“If God wants it, it will happen. When there’s something I think will benefit people, I keep plugging away, even if I don’t yet see evidence of success. It never fails that the right people come along to turn it into reality.”

 

Wintley A. Phipps 

Founder, President and CEO, U.S. Dream Academy

"Children whose parents are incarcerated often perform poorly in school and, if they drop out, face up to 10 times higher odds they will wind up in prison as adults. I founded U.S. Dream Academy, an after-school and mentorship program, for these kids. We boost their academics, build character and foster their dreams, so they can break the cycle and lead happy, productive lives."