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The Purpose Prize


Each year since 2006 winners have been chosen and awarded a $100,000 prize by Encore Careers for efforts pioneered by older adults in tackling society’s toughest issues. Knowing which change initiatives by older adults are celebrated nationally can help community planners and local leaders know how to launch movements. By tapping into the potential of an increasingly older population to initiate global and local change, communities become stronger.

Key Points

Purpose Prize recipients receive national attention. Each recipient is profiled, which provides local leaders with the capability of discovering who has been successful doing what in different areas of the country. Organizational names are given, which provide a source of inspiration and information for championing local causes.

Other prize highlights:

  1. In 2011, one of the winners was Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky (an organization that helps girl orphans in China). Since winning the prize, a movie has been made about this topic, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
  2. Winners come from a variety of causes and fields, including everything from how architecture impacts greenhouse gases (Edward Mazria) to championing stoves over cooking fires in third world settings (Nancy Sanford Hughes) to the reduction of toxic fumes near residential areas (Margaret Gordon).

How to Use

Community planners and local government leaders can enlist older adults to champion big causes with tremendous local impact. This allows for better collaboration, community, and planning. Finding ways to support, highlight, and award local area change agents may be a key to future planning initiatives.

View the website: The Purpose Prize

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