Posted 03/09/2011 - 09:27:25am by Michele Melendez
Purpose Prize women are receiving big honors and media attention these days.
For International Women’s Day (March 8), the London-based paper The Guardian named 2008 Prize winner Arlene Blum one of the world’s “Top 100 Women.” The list includes such notable Americans as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and pop music icon Lady Gaga.
“As a child, growing up in a dysfunctional family, Arlene Blum once overheard her aunt say: `That child will amount to no good,’ an opinion Blum has proved wrong in two male-dominated fields,” the Guardian article reads.
The Guardian praises Blum, of Berkeley, Calif., for her tenacity and success in biochemical research and mountaineering. As a chemist, she was influential in banning carcinogenic chemicals in consumer products, including children’s pajamas and upholstered furniture. As a mountaineer, she helped lead the first female team to ascend Mount McKinley, America's highest peak, and she was the first American woman to attempt to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest.
Meanwhile, The James Irvine Foundation has honored fellow Californian and 2009 Prize winner Judith Broder with a 2011 Leadership Award. The award recognizes people who are addressing significant issues in innovative ways in California.
Broder, among the five 2011 winners announced March 3, netted the award “for her compassionate, effective program to provide mental health counseling to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their families,” according to the foundation. The psychiatrist’s program, The Soldiers Project, is based in Los Angeles and has locations in several other cities.
A couple of East Coast Prize winners are getting their share of notoriety, too. Barbara Chandler Allen and Dana Freyer, who won the Prize in 2010, are the subjects of a six-page spread in the March edition of Your Life Guide, a USA Today magazine. The article explores the women’s transitions to encore careers.
Allen, a former art museum administrator, created the Lafayette Hill, Pa., nonprofit Fresh Artists, which uses children’s artwork to bring in donations for buying art supplies for inner-city Philadelphia schools. Freyer, a former corporate lawyer, co-founded the New York-based Global Partnership for Afghanistan, which helps rural Afghans sustain themselves while restoring the countryside.
The passion of both women is clear. In the piece, Freyer says, “What could be better? What could be more exciting? So I wake up every day just charged to get going and to do more. And the needs are endless."