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AARP Purpose Prize

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

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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AARP Foundation

Deadline Date:



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Awards of $5,000 and $60,000 to USA and territories individuals ages 50 and older 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.

AARP strongly considers applicants working in the following issue areas:
- 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: New approach to an old or emerging problem, or a creative way of building on an existing idea so it reaches more people.
- Creative or entrepreneurial spirit: Demonstrated commitment as a visionary or pioneer in your field of work.
- Impact: Clearly documented impact. This could be through an external evaluation or internal efforts to track success.
- Future focus: Work that shows promise for the future, that is, the next three to five years.
- Experience-based: Clear connection between your life experience and the work you’re doing. This could be through the problem you’re solving, the skills you’ve applied to the problem, or the life experience or insights that led you to this work.
- Integrity: Demonstration that you’re a highly ethical person who will make an excellent AARP Purpose Prize ambassador. You are a role model for others who are using their life experience to make a difference.

Each of the AARP Purpose Prize winners will receive $60,000 to celebrate their achievements and broaden the scope of their work. 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.

In addition to the $60,000 cash prize, winners receive:

- The opportunity for their stories and work to be promoted across a variety of media channels
- Media and storytelling training
- Membership in the 2019 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-2020 Purpose Prize end-of-year get-together to reflect on the AARP Purpose Prize experience, share feedback, make recommendations, etc.
- Attend the 2020 AARP Purpose Prize celebration event.
- Attend a midyear onsite get-together.
- Opt in for technical assistance and support webinars.
- Engage in optional networking events.

Included within the AARP Purpose Prize is the Andrus Prize for Intergenerational Excellence. This award celebrates the legacy of AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, who was an innovative educator and social change agent. It recognizes work that brings multiple generations together for a better community. Each year, one of the five AARP Purpose Prize awards will be designated for the Andrus Prize for Intergenerational Excellence.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180642

Number of Grants:

Five winners will be chosen; 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): $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 residents of the fifty (50) United States/District of Columbia and its territories or a US citizen living abroad
-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.

The work needs to be taking place at the time of the application.

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.

Applications from people whose work primarily benefits people living outside U.S. borders are accepted, but applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. In this case, be sure to check the “International” box on the application.

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.

Note: Fellows are eligible to reapply for the AARP Purpose Prize after a two-year grace period from the date of their most recent AARP Purpose Prize award nomination.

Pre-Application Information:

Nomination: Individuals may nominate someone between October 30, 2018 and March 31, 2019 by completely filling out the Official Nomination Form online.

An individual may only submit one (1) either self-nomination or nomination of another individual. Only one (1) entry per individual.

Application: Upon submission of the completed Nomination Form, each Nominee will receive an email containing a link to the Official Application Form. Individuals who nominate themselves will automatically be directed to this form. Nominees must complete the application form prior to 11:59 PM EST on April 7, 2019 to be considered. Upon completion of the Application Form, each applicant will automatically be entered into the Contest. Nominees who fail to submit an Official Application or do not comply with application instructions will not be considered.

Judging and Selection Process: The judging will consist of five (5) rounds, Applicant, Candidate, Semi-Finalist, Finalist, and Winners and Fellows’ rounds (collectively, “Contest Rounds).

Contest Rounds Administration and Round Winner Notification:
- Round 1 (Applicant Round) All applicants must submit their applications by 11:59pm EST on April 7, 2019. 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 10, 2019. The Round 2 narrative application will be provided shortly after the time of notification. Round 2 Candidates will have until 11:59pm EST on May 28, 2019 to submit their Round 2 application. The return of any Candidate notification message or document as undeliverable or the failure to complete the Candidate application form or comply with the applicable instructions may result in disqualification of said Candidate, the forfeiture of his or her interest in the prize and the selection of a substitute Candidate from among all remaining eligible entries.
- Round 3 (Semi-Finalist Round) On approximately June 28, 2019, 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, 2019, 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 17, 2019 Jury deliberations of the 7-10 Finalists will begin and last until approximately September 17, 2019. On Approximately September 20, 2019 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 20, 2019. Winners must email AARP within five (5) days of notification to claim prize.

AARP Purpose Prize FAQs:
About the AARP Purpose Prize Award:

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:

For questions please contact:

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)