Economic Development, Opportunity

Lyn Hughes , A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

After working in cultural economic development in Chicago for more than a decade, Lyn Hughes thought real estate would be her final career. But she found a higher purpose in her next step launching an encore career devoted to using the fascinating history and powerful influence of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters to inspire cultural and community pride. The union represented the 20,000 African American porters and maids who worked as the onboard crew for the Pullman Rail Car Company, which manufactured and operated railroad sleeper cars invented by founder George Pullman.

Richard Fox , Trees, Water & People
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Trees, Water & People
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

When Richard Fox learned in 2002 that some of the Lakota people living on the poverty-stricken Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota freeze to death every winter because they can’t afford to heat their poorly insulated or completely unheated homes, he was moved to action.

“No one should freeze to death in their own home because they can’t afford heat,” he says. “I made a solemn vow to do all I could to combat this terrible situation. Thus was born my encore career.”

Richard Fahey , Liberian Energy Network
Founder and CEO
Liberian Energy Network
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

When environmental lawyer Richard Fahey returned to Liberia in 2009 with his wife, Suzanne, 30 years after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer there, he found a much different place. The country, one of the world’s poorest, was devastated after 14 years of civil war. At night, virtually the entire country plunged into darkness. Hospitals, schools, businesses, homes—all lacked light. Still, only 2% of Liberia’s 4 million rural residents are connected to the country’s meager electrical grid – and they spend a quarter of their $158 annual income paying to charge their cell phones.

Johanna Crawford , Web of Benefit, Inc.
Founder and Executive Director
Web of Benefit, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Johanna Crawford was 13, living in an alcoholic, abusive household, when she watched her father try to kill her mother. The memory never left her, even years later as an adult who had built a string of successful businesses and sold high-end real estate.

John Corcoran , John Corcoran Foundation
John Corcoran Foundation
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

In the early 1990s, John Corcoran’s 4-year-old granddaughter began asking him to read books with her. But he couldn’t read. He was one of the 93 million Americans whose reading skills are below the basic level. In his 17 years teaching high school, he had fooled everyone. But he couldn’t fool her.

Jill Ker Conway , Community Solutions
Community Solutions
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Born in the Australian outback, Jill Ker Conway ventured to the United States for an illustrious academic career capped by her appointment as Smith College’s first woman president. But she wasn’t done yet. In 2011, at age 76, she embarked on an encore career as a social entrepreneur. With co-founder Rosanne Haggerty, she launched Community Solutions, an innovative, evidence-based program to find homes for the nation’s most vulnerable homeless people.

Barbara Young , National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Organizer
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Purpose Prize Winner 2013

In 2001, when Barbara Young signed up for a nanny training class in New York City, she didn’t realize how it would set her on the path for her encore career. She simply thought taking a certificate program could help her acquire extra skills, like CPR. She took pride in her work looking after a six-week-old baby round the clock, and was thirsty for knowledge. “I figured it would be really good for me,” Young says.

Elizabeth Huttinger , Projet Crevette
Principal Investigator
Projet Crevette
Purpose Prize Winner 2013

Over lunch one afternoon in 2004, Elizabeth Huttinger listened carefully as evolutionary biologist Dr. Armand Kuris told her he had a cure for schistosomiasis, the fourth largest parasitic disease in the world.

Violet  Little , The Welcome Church
Pastor and Developer
The Welcome Church
Purpose Prize Winner 2013

On a cold day in 2006, the Reverend Violet Little walked into a public transit restroom in Philadelphia. She was exhausted. She’d been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness, vision problems and breathing difficulties. Unable to drive, she was dependent on the city’s transit system. Inside, she found a woman washing her hair in the sink. Another woman was attempting to dry her pants under a hand dryer. Little felt a deep empathy. They began to chat.

White House Honors Purpose Prize Winner as a Champion for Change

Editor’s note: Purpose Prize winner Nancy Sanford Hughes, a longtime member of the volunteer organization Rotary International, was honored last week at the White House alongside 11 fellow Rotarians as a Champion of Change.

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