It is with great pleasure that I announce this year’s winners of The Purpose Prize. Out of a pool of 800 nominees, these six individuals distinguished themselves through their passion, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and impact. They are powerful examples for the millions of older Americans who believe that using their life experience in order to make a difference – big or small, across communities, continents and generations – is a vital responsibility.

It's a great honor to unveil the stories of our seven inspirational Purpose Prize winners for 2013. These individuals come from all walks of life, but hold one thing in common: each is changing the world in what was once seen as the 'leftover' years. Through this important work they are simultaneously transforming perceptions about what is possible when the power of social innovation is joined with the unique value of experience.

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.

It was with great sadness that we learned that Purpose Prize winner Inez Killingsworth died January 17 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Killingsworth was an indefatigable advocate for the collective power of people acting together to make change in their communities. As the founder of Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People (ESOP), she led a fight against foreclosures and predatory lending practices that has only become more important with the passing years.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are five stories that reveal the power of social innovation – and the capacity of individuals in their encore careers.

At a recent White House ceremony, Purpose Prize fellow Dolores Huerta became one of only 13 people – including such big names as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former astronaut John Glenn and musician Bob Dylan – to receive the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Purpose Prize winner Arlene Blum, whose research and advocacy led to a ban on a toxic fire retardant in children's sleepwear, has recently lent her expertise to two major media outlets.

The cable news channel CNN recently named Purpose Prize winner Connie Siskowski one of its 2012 CNN Heroes – "everyday people changing the world."

CNN selected Siskowski for her compassionate and innovative work in helping youths care for aging, disabled or ill family members.

If you’re wondering how to figure out what’s next in your life, take three minutes and watch this clip from Emmy-award winning journalist Jane Pauley.

The 2011 Purpose Prize winners are making big news.

Since the five winners were announced November 3, media outlets from across the country have been highlighting the remarkable work that earned these social innovators the $100,000 award.

Some have called The Purpose Prize the “genius award for retirees.” This year's winners exemplify the spirit of the $100,000 award – the country's only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life.

The 2011 winners are:

Today President Obama honored an exclusive group of Americans who have lifted the lives of people struggling and suffering around the world.

Just 13 people received the Presidential Citizens Medal – a prestigious civilian honor second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom – at a White House ceremony this afternoon.

And three of them are Purpose Prize winners.

Oprah Winfrey has her sights on two 2010 Purpose Prize winners. Margaret Gordon and Dana Freyer were recently showcased on Oprah.com for the extraordinary work they do in their encores.

For years Friends of the Children, founded by Purpose Prize winner Duncan Campbell, has attracted attention and praise.

And the kudos keep coming: The New York Times just showcased the organization – which pays mentors to work with a small number of disadvantaged children for as long as 12 years – for its impact.

This year President Obama is awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal to just 13 people. And three of them – picked from 6,000 nominees – are Purpose Prize winners.

“This year’s recipients of the Citizens Medal come from different backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a cause greater than themselves,” Obama said in a statement. “They exemplify the best of what it means to be an American.”

The list of 2011 CNN Heroes – 24 “everyday people changing the world” – includes Wilma Melville, chosen for the work she’s done in her encore career to strengthen disaster response in the United States.

Emmy-award-winning journalist Jane Pauley sat down recently with two Purpose Prize fellows, Libba and Gifford Pinchot, to film a segment for NBC’s TODAY show.
Pauley selected the couple for her “Your Life Calling” segment because, in their fifties, the Pinchots founded the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) to train future business leaders to go green.

Recognizing the innovative way she is keeping seniors out of nursing homes, Bloomberg Businessweek has named Purpose Prize winner Conchy Bretos one of America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2011.

Some of the most inspiring encore stories come from Purpose Prize winners and fellows, people in their 60s and beyond who are tackling society’s toughest problems.

If you’re in New York on June 29, join us at the New York Public Library for some inspiration from four Purpose Prize honorees, who will talk about how they transitioned into encore careers.

In a new documentary produced by Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn, Purpose Prize winner Elizabeth Alderman recalls the horror she felt after she lost her 25-year-old son, Peter, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.