Education & Training


Catherine (Kay) Sanford , Project Lazarus
Injury Epidemiologist
Project Lazarus
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

As an injury epidemiologist in North Carolina, I’ve spent my career studying how people get hurt. In 2002, while reviewing routine injury data, I made a disturbing discovery: Fatal overdoses from prescription pain medicine were dramatically increasing across the state.


Beverly Santicola , Center for Rural Outreach & Public Services, Inc. (CROPS)
Executive Director
Center for Rural Outreach & Public Services, Inc. (CROPS)
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

In 2001, my husband and I moved to Houston from Ohio, where I had spent 10 years running a nonprofit labor management organization. I grew its annual budget from $25,000 to $500,000, including raising $1 million to build a rural elementary school science center and school-based community technology center.


Robert H.  Trenkamp, Jr. , Saving Lives In Chatham County, Inc. (SLICC)
Co-founder, President and CEO
Saving Lives In Chatham County, Inc. (SLICC)
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

Before I retired in 2001, I fixed broken tech companies, as a CEO-for-hire. Later, as a paramedic working 12-hour shifts in emergency rooms and ambulances in Savannah, Georgia, I tried to fix broken hearts and minds resulting from cardiac arrest or stroke. Finally, I had my chance to follow an ambition I’d had as a young man: to have a career in medicine.


Priscilla Higham , African Solutions for African Problems (ASAP)
Founder and Program Director
African Solutions for African Problems (ASAP)
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

At certain times, a human life takes a quantum leap. That happened to me in 2000 while on a journalism assignment in the Nairobi slums. The activist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai introduced me to a network of women who – without funding – were taking care of children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.


Leslie Gray , Woodfish Institute
Founder and Director
Woodfish Institute
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

In 2000, I opened the Woodfish Institute in San Francisco to develop and teach innovative approaches to mental health, blending modern psychology with indigenous health practices. I’m a Native American clinical psychologist in private practice. I’ve also studied with tribal shamans, healers and elders in four countries.

While designing the curriculum, I got a remarkable opportunity that transformed my vision for Woodfish from a place that teaches individual counseling into one that fosters planetary healing.


Virginia Donohue , On Point for College
Founder/Executive Director
On Point for College
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

My “Aha!” moment came in 1998, when I was 52 years old. I was buying dorm room bedding for Nick, who was in a program for chronically homeless youth. I had helped him get into one of the best music conservatories in the country. I was CFO of a computer distribution company, but for eight years, I had volunteered at a homeless shelter in Fulton, NY, assisting kids like Nick with the college application process and fees, campus visits and essentials like bedding.


Alexandreena  Dixon , Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts & Culture of Rockland, Inc.
Board Chair/Dance Instructor
Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts & Culture of Rockland, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

Dance was my salvation growing up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. It kept me away from alcohol, drugs, jail and teen pregnancy — rites of passage for many of my friends. The arts helped me to think differently about myself. I believe they can do the same for others.


Liza Bercovici , Gabriella Charter School
Executive Director
Gabriella Charter School
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

When my daughter, Gabriella, died in 1999 in a bike accident, my life stopped. My husband and I and our two sons were devastated. Too grief-stricken to continue my law career, I closed my practice and, with the help of family and friends, established The Gabriella Foundation in her honor. In the process, I slowly rebuilt my life.


William Abrashkin , Springfield Housing Authority
Executive Director
Springfield Housing Authority
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

I was a judge in a rough-and-tumble housing court in western Massachusetts for 22 years. Every week, hundreds of low-income, uneducated, unskilled young parents stood before my bench. I grew weary of seeing the damage caused by poverty and disadvantage over and over again.

One day in 2006, I had to evict a young woman and her kids. It hit me hard. “This person wasn’t even born when I started this job,” I thought. “There must be something I can do to keep people from getting into these situations in the first place.”

Great article in the NYT Online, features Encore Fellows

This article came out on June 6, 2014 (online edition) and spent most of the weekend on the NYT most-emailed list. The article features EFN National Director Leslye Louie and two Encore Fellows: Louisa Hellegers, now the program director of the New York Encore Fellows program, and Kathy Quiett, an Intel Encore Fellow who moved to Florida and is helping with sea turtle rescue at the local zoo.

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