AARP Purpose Prize

The Purpose Prize recognizes outstanding individuals over the age of 60 who combine their passion and experience for the betterment of all.

Deadline: March 30, 2012

Sponsor: AARP

Each year, awards of up to $100,000 each go to five people in encore careers who have created new ways to tackle tough social problems.
  • At least 60 years old by the application deadline. 
  • Currently addressing a major social problem in the second half of life (in what is often called an encore career). 
  • A legal U.S. resident or a U.S. citizen living abroad (residents of U.S. territories are also eligible). 
  • Not an elected official. 
  • Not involved in a project that is exclusively religious or sectarian. People working in faith-based settings that have a broader social mission are eligible and encouraged to apply.
How to Apply

How to Apply/Nominate

Whether you are applying for the Purpose Prize yourself or nominating someone, you will need to know the following:

  • The candidate's birth date 

  • The candidate's area of interest 

  • The candidate's complete email, phone and contact information

As part of the nomination process you'll be asked to describe, in 250-500 words, the nominee's inspiring work. You'll also be asked to briefly describe:

  • How and when the candidate's important work began 

  • The impact the candidate's work is having 

  • The candidate's plans for the future

You may complete and submit nominations online. You may wish to refer to the eligibility and selection criteria as well as frequently asked questions about the Purpose Prize.

Nominees will be informed in May 2012 if they have been selected as semifinalists for the Purpose Prize. The semifinalists will then have the opportunity to provide longer responses, additional information, and references.

Selection Criteria

  • Will the person be a compelling role model whose own story will inspire others, not only to think differently about the second half of life, but also to take steps to finding their own encore career? 

  • Has the person initiated recent important innovations (in a new or existing organization) within the past 15 years? 

  • How important is the issue the person is addressing? How much of an impact has the person's work had on that issue? Is his or her work already effecting, or does it have the future potential to effect, systemic change? 

  • Does the person plan to continue to innovate and lead in the years to come? 

  • Is the person a highly ethical individual?