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AARP Purpose Prize

Awards to USA Individuals Ages 50 and
Above for Creating Positive Social Impact

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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AARP Foundantion

Deadline Date:



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Awards of $60,000 to USA and territories individuals over the age of 50 to recognize recent efforts to make a positive social impact. Strong consideration will be given to candidates working to address areas that are of particular concern to the Funding Source, specifically: intergenerational work; rethinking the workplace; caregiving and caregiver resources; healthy living; financial health; hunger; affordable housing; and social connections.

Issue areas details:

- Intergenerational work (opportunities for different generations to come together to share their experience, knowledge, and skills)
- Rethinking the workplace (jobs, work environments, alternative approaches)
- Caregiving and caregiver resources (support for vulnerable populations and the people who care for them)
- Healthy living (food and nutrition, brain health, physical fitness, etc.)
- Financial health (financial stability, resilience, economic opportunity, etc.
- Hunger (food insecurity, waste, distribution, etc.)
- Affordable housing (safe, well-managed, and affordable housing and services)
- Social connections (isolation among vulnerable community members)
- Civic engagement and community development (helping people be active participants in building and strengthening their communities)
- Environmental issues (combatting the challenges facing the planet)
- Children and youth (helping kids and young people reach their full potential)
- Arts and culture (using art and culture as tools to engage communities in positive change)
- Peace and security rights (establishing or preserving justice and equality by peaceful means)

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

- Innovation: A new approach to an old or emerging problem, or a creative way of scaling up or expanding a promising approach
- Creative or entrepreneurial spirit: The nominee can demonstrate a commitment as a visionary or pioneer in their field of work.
- Impact: Clear documentation of impact, whether through an external evaluation or ongoing internal efforts to track outcomes or indicators of success
- Future focus: A trajectory for the applicant’s career and work that shows promise for the future; i.e. potential for the next five years
- Experience-based: Clear connection between the applicant’s life experience and the work at hand, whether through the problem being solved, the skills being applied to the problem, or the life experience or insights that led to the work.
- Integrity: Evidence that candidates are highly ethical individuals who will make an excellent AARP Purpose Prize representative and who can be role models for others who are using their life experience to make a difference.

Each of the AARP Purpose Prize winners will receive $60,000. There are no restrictions on how the money may be used by the winners. Most past winners have used the money to further the work of their organizations, but that is not required. AARP’s hope is that the funds are a down payment on future work for the greater social good.

Winners also receive:

- The opportunity for their stories and work to be promoted across a variety of media channels
- Media training
- Membership in the 2018 AARP Purpose Prize “class” of awardees and fellows -- a peer learning group focused on targeted technical assistance and support

While there can only be five AARP Purpose Prize winners each year, AARP recognizes that there are many strong applicants whose work contributes to improving local and global communities. Therefore, AARP will invite a select group of finalists to be “fellows.” The fellows will help round out each year’s “class.” Fellows will receive a cash prize of $5,000 each and will be invited to:

- Participate in media and storytelling training.
- Participate in the one-day pre-2019 Purpose Prize end-of-year get-together to reflect on the AARP Purpose Prize experience, share feedback, make recommendations, etc.
- Attend the 2019 AARP Purpose Prize celebration event.
- Attend a midyear onsite get-together.
- Opt in for technical assistance and support webinars.
- Engage in optional networking events.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180642

Number of Grants:

5; In the event there are not five (5) eligible Finalists available for selection as a Winner, AARP reserves the right to reduce the number of Winners.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Prize winners: $60,000
Fellows (finalists): Up to $5,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nominations are accepted for someone who is:
-Tackling a major social problem
-At least 50 years old
-Started this work at the age of 40 or later
-A legal resident or a US citizen living abroad, or a resident of a US territory
-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.

People who work for nonprofits, for-profits, government agencies, a mix of these, or independently are eligible. As long as the work leads to positive change and has had a significant impact at the local, regional, national or global level, it is eligible.

People who work as a volunteer, receive a stipend, or are paid a salary are all eligible.

People who work together can be nominated for a single award, but each person in the partnership must meet all the criteria and they must demonstrate how they’ve each contributed significantly to the work.

The following categories of people are not eligible:

- AARP staff
- AARP Board Members
- AARP consultants and vendors who have received remuneration during the 12-month period preceding the -application deadline
- Individuals who work at organizations that share a board member with AARP
- Members of the AARP Purpose Prize review panel or jurors
- AARP volunteers
- Family members (including domestic partners) and business associates of any individuals in the categories listed above
- Current grantees
- Elected officials

The Funding Source is not looking for creative endeavors that do not improve people’s lives directly. Also, it cannot evaluate the merit of certain types of innovations, for example:

- Scientific or technological inventions cannot be evaluated, although of course these can be important social innovations. If you are an inventor, you must describe how you have spread the use of an independently recognized invention and demonstrate the social impact of that invention.
- Similarly, if you are an academic researcher or a fine artist, you need to demonstrate that you have also been involved in using research or art to address a significant social problem and can demonstrate the social impact of your work.
- You should not be involved in work that is exclusively religious or sectarian. However, people working in faith-based settings that have a broader social mission are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Pre-Application Information:

An individual may only submit one (1) either self-nomination or nomination of another individual. Only one (1) entry per individual. The entry and selection process is as follows:

Nomination: Individuals may nominate someone between October 24, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

Contest Rounds Administration and Round Winner Notification:
- Round 1 (Applicant Round) All applicants must submit their applications by 11:59 PM EST on April 6, 2018. AARP Reviewers will identify all eligible applications that meet the outlined AARP Purpose Prize criteria. From the eligible applications, the AARP Reviewers will select up to 150 applicants to continue to Round 2.
- Round 2 (Candidate Round) Candidates will be selected by AARP Reviewers who have been selected to continue will be notified no later than May 7, 2018. The Round 2 narrative application will be provided shortly after the time of notification. Round 2 Candidates will have until 11:59 PM EST on May 25, 2018 to submit their Round 2 application.
- Round 3 (Semi-Finalist Round) On approximately June 27, 2018, 10-15 Semi-Finalists will be selected by internal AARP Reviewers from the candidates put forth from Round 2.
- Round 4 (Finalist Round). On approximately July 12, 2018, the 10-15 Semi-Finalists will then be reviewed by AARP Reviewers who will then select 7-10 Finalists to be voted on by the Jury in Round 5.
- Round 5 (Winner Round): On approximately September 4, 2018 Jury deliberations of the 7-10 Finalists will begin and last until approximately September 19, 2018. On Approximately September 19, 2018 the Jury will make its recommendations of the 5 Winners. On approximately September 20, 2018 the AARP CEO will review the recommendations of the Jury and determine if the five (5) recommended Winners will be formally confirmed.

Winners will be notified by phone and via email on or about September 21, 2018. Winners must email AARP within five (5) days of notification to claim prize.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit a Nomination:

601 E. Street NW
Washington, DC 20049

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)