A better Life, Older Citizens with “Purpose” Honored


USA Today - September 2006

At 67, former U.S. assistant surgeon general Marilyn Gaston could be living a life of leisure. Instead, she and her business partner, Gayle Porter, 61, have developed Prime Time Sister Circles, a program aimed at helping black women in midlife improve their health.

Gaston and Porter have won a Purpose Prize, an inaugural award from Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based think tank and program incubator aimed at people in mid-life. The five $100,000 prizes honor social innovators over 60, says Marc Freedman, founder and president of Civic Ventures.

Other award winners:

Conchy Bretos, 61, of Miami. As secretary for Aging and Adult Services of Florida, Bretos spearheaded the first public-housing project to bring assisted living services to low-income adults in their homes and today helps other public-housing projects bring assisted-living services to residents.

Charles Dey, 75, of Lyme, Conn., created Start on Success, a National Organization on Disability program that provides paid internships and workplace mentors mostly to disabled minority high school students. 

W. Wilson Goode Sr., 68, former mayor of Philadelphia, directs Amachi, a non-profit helping the 7 million children in the USA who have one or both parents in jail, on parole or under supervision.

Judea Pearl, 70, of Los Angeles and Akbar Ahmed, 63, of Washington, D.C., teamed up after terrorists murdered Pearl’s son, Daniel, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Pearl, a UCLA computer science professor, and Ahmed, professor of Islamic Studies at American University, travel the country to lead dialogues on religious tolerance.



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