San Francisco-based Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures) has announced the winners of the 2012 Purpose Prize, which recognizes social entrepreneurs age 60 and older who are creating innovative solutions to stubborn social challenges in their communities and around the globe.
This year's winners, each of whom will receive $100,000 to help advance their social innovations, are Sustainable Innovations executive director Bhagwati (B.P.) Agrawal, who founded Aakash Ganga (River from Sky) to help mitigate the water shortage in his native India; Susan Burton, founder and executive director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, which offers legal aid, job training, and other services to help former inmates build productive lives; Thomas Cox of Maine Attorneys Saving Homes, which exposed massive fraud by mortgage lenders while representing low-income homeowners facing foreclosure and is building a network of volunteer lawyers; Lorraine Decker, co-founder and president of Skills For Living, which provides free workshops to help low-income adults and teens acquire the financial, career, and life skills they need to thrive; and Treehouse Foundation founder and executive director Judy Cockerton, who won the AARP-sponsored Purpose Prize for Intergenerational Innovation for her programs to enrich the lives of foster children.
Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation, the Purpose Prize was created in 2005 as part of Civic Ventures' Encore Careers campaign, which aims to engage millions of baby boomers in second careers combining personal meaning, continued income, and social impact. The five winners and thirty-five fellows were chosen by a panel of twenty-three judges from a pool of more than eight hundred nominees.
"Purpose Prize winners are in the midst of solving society's steepest challenges, from foster care to foreclosure," said Encore.org founder and CEO Marc Freedman. "And they underscore that significant social innovation is by no means the exclusive province of the young."