Environment & Sustainability


Linda Lannon  and Mary Wallace , PeopleTowels, LLC
Co-founders
PeopleTowels, LLC
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

In 2006, Mary Wallace and Linda Lannon were high-level executives at McGraw Hill who struck up a cross-country friendship. Both worked remotely from their homes on opposite coasts — Wallace in Florida and Lannon in California—but collaboration regularly brought them together.

Former educators in their mid-50s with grandchildren, they often discussed their longing for work with a higher purpose. “We had a sense of urgency about climate change,” says Lannon. “We wanted to do something more meaningful that impacted the world positively for future generations.”


Richard Joyner , Conetoe Family Life Center
Founder
Conetoe Family Life Center
Purpose Prize Winner 2014

In 2005, the Rev. Richard Joyner had a realization. He had presided over too many funerals at a church of just 300 members. In one year alone, 30 congregants under the age of 32 years had died.

“We had at least 20 funerals per year, and a lot of the deaths were health-related — poor diets, no exercise,” says Joyner, now 62, pastor of the Conetoe Baptist Church in rural North Carolina. “It just started to feel unconscionable that you would see someone 100 pounds overweight on Sunday and not say anything about it. Then they’d die of a heart attack.”


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.


Gloria Carter Dickerson , We2Gether Creating Change
Founder and Executive Director
We2Gether Creating Change
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

Sunflower County sounds like a happy place. But the rural Mississippi Delta county is one of the poorest in the nation. An alarming 54 percent of children live in poverty, and the high school graduation rate is just 59 percent.

When I moved back there in 2009 after a prosperous 35-year career in accounting, some people may have thought I was having a midlife crisis. But it was really a midlife awakening that led me to found the organization We2Gether Creating Change, to break the cycle of generational poverty in places like Sunflower County.


Michael Connor , Open MIC/Business Ethics Magazine
Executive Director
Open MIC/Business Ethics Magazine
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

“‘Business ethics’? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I heard that joke a lot in 2004 when I bought Business Ethics, a magazine about corporate responsibility. But more than 40 years as a business journalist and media executive taught me that corporate secrecy can be a threat to the bottom line and to democracy.


Mary  Wallace  and Linda  Lannon , PeopleTowels, LLC
Co-founders
PeopleTowels, LLC
Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

In 2006, Mary Wallace and Linda Lannon were high-level executives at McGraw Hill who struck up a cross-country friendship. Both worked remotely from their homes on opposite coasts — Wallace in Florida and Lannon in California—but collaboration regularly brought them together.

Former educators in their mid-50s with grandchildren, they often discussed their longing for work with a higher purpose. “We had a sense of urgency about climate change,” says Lannon. “We wanted to do something more meaningful that impacted the world positively for future generations.”


Richard Roy , Center for Earth Leadership
Co-Director
Center for Earth Leadership
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

In 1993, Harvard-trained lawyer Dick Roy left behind his corner office in Portland, Oregon, to launch an encore career with his wife, Jeanne, devoted to a higher purpose: environmental sustainability.

“We were acutely aware that climate change was on the horizon and ecological degradation was accelerating,” Roy says. “We concluded that we had no choice but to dedicate our lives to saving Earth as we know it.”


Gary  Oppenheimer , AmpleHarvest.org
Founder and Executive Director
AmpleHarvest.org
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

In 2009, master gardener and computer expert Gary Oppenheimer was running a community garden in New Jersey. Many of his fellow gardeners were frustrated that much of the fresh produce they grew went to waste.

“I hate waste,” Oppenheimer says.

There are 40 million home gardeners in America. Many grow more fresh food than they can use. And yet 50 million Americans go hungry every day. Often they live in the same communities.


Duane Jager , ReUse Works
Founding Executive Director
ReUse Works
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

In 2002, after a 30-year career in social services, Duane Jager linked up with a group of local business people in Bellingham, Wa., to help promote sustainability and environmental protection. He immediately saw how business and social service can be combined for the greater good, and two years later founded ReUse Works, for the purpose of creating jobs from waste.


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.”

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