The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has selected HelpAge International, the only global organization focused solely on providing assistance to and advocating for disadvantaged older people, as the winner of the $1.5 million Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
The world's largest humanitarian prize was announced on International Women's Day in recognition of the D.C.-based organization's work to alleviate human suffering, especially among older women, who comprise the majority of older people around the world and often are the chief economic provider for their families. The prize will be presented at the annual meeting of the Global Philanthropy Forum in April.
Established in 1983, HelpAge has ninety-four affiliates in seventy countries and more than three thousand independent partners. In the twenty years of its existence, the organization has trained twenty-five thousand professionals and sixteen thousand community members to provide health care, legal advice, and financial support for older people. It also helped develop the UN Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging in 2002, which was adopted by fifty-seven countries that have pledged to incorporate aging in all social and economic development policies. In recognition of the tenth anniversary of the plan, HelpAge is collaborating with the UN Population Fund on the World's Older Persons Report, which will assess the progress made since 2002.
"The world is aging. By 2015, nearly nine hundred million people will be older than sixty, which is close to three times the population of the United States," said Steven M. Hilton, CEO and president of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. "Nearly a hundred and ninety million older people live in poverty, with more than a hundred million living on less than one dollar a day. As the world prepares for this monumental demographic shift, HelpAge is showing us that it is important to recognize and support older people so they can continue to be contributing and productive members of society."