2015 Purpose Prize Winners Announced

2015 Purpose Prize Winners Announced

San Francisco-based Encore.org has announced the winners of the 2015 Purpose Prize, which recognizes social entrepreneurs age 60 and older who are creating innovative solutions to social challenges.

Now in its tenth year, the prize was awarded to six individuals working on significant social-impact projects in their communities and around the world. Former journalist Laurie Ahern will receive $100,000 for her work as president of Disability Rights International, which works to end the pervasive and abusive practice of institutionalizing children with disabilities and promote the human rights and full participation in society of people with disabilities.

The five other winners, each of whom will receive $25,000, are Patricia Foley Hinnen, a microlending evangelist and founder of Capital Sisters International, which raises funds through zero-interest bonds for microloans for impoverished women (Purpose Prize for Financial Inclusion, sponsored by the MetLife Foundation); Jamal Joseph, a former Black Panther and an award-winning filmmaker and Columbia University professor who founded IMPACT Repertory Theatre as a refuge where young people can escape the violence in their lives, learn leadership skills, and create art for social change; Samuel Lupin, a doctor who founded Housecalls for the Homebound, which brings essential health care to thousands of homebound elderly patients; Belle Mickelson, a science-teacher-turned-Episcopal-priest who started Dancing with the Spirit, which brings young and old people in remote Alaskan villages together to play music (Purpose Prize for Intergenerational Impact, sponsored by the Eisner Foundation); and former judge Laura Safer Espinoza, who created the Fair Food Standards Council to bring human rights and economic justice to more than thirty thousand Florida farm workers and their families.

"The 2015 winners of the Purpose Prize have applied their significant talents to address social injustice, health care access, and the empowerment of people of all ages who lack basic resources, at home and abroad," said Purpose Prize director Eunice Lin Nichols. "Each person we honor today is doing the most important work of their lives, achieving substantial social impact while finding personal fulfillment in the process."