Purpose Prize

Dolphus Weary , Rural Education and Leadership (R.E.A.L) Christian Foundation
Rural Education and Leadership (R.E.A.L) Christian Foundation
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Dolphus Weary grew up in rural Simpson County, Mississippi. When he won an out-of- state basketball scholarship to college, he swore he’d never come back. But a strong
sense of calling prompted him to return to Mendenhall, Mississippi, Simpson’s county seat.

It became clear to Weary that ministries across rural Mississippi needed help to support
their social improvement ambitions, therefore in 1997 he founded the Rural Education and Leadership Christian Foundation (R.E.A.L.) to nurture, train, mentor and provide
partial funding to ministries’ programs mostly focused on young people.

Jewel Thais-Williams , The Village Health Foundation, Inc.
Founder and Executive Director
The Village Health Foundation, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Forty years ago, Jewel Thais-Williams opened the Catch One nightclub, known as “The Catch,” the famed LGBT disco in South Los Angeles where Madonna once held a party to launch a new album. Stress took its toll, and Thais-Williams began drinking and doing drugs. Seven years later, she got sober, partly with the help of natural healing, which led the UCLA graduate to train for an encore career as an acupuncturist. She graduated at age 60 but didn’t stop there.

Joseph Sluszka , Albany Housing Coalition Inc.
Executive Director
Albany Housing Coalition Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

With 14 years of experience at the helm of a community grassroots housing organization in upstate New York, Joseph Sluszka knew the importance of having a roof over one’s head, regardless of income. He was also skilled in financial management from his years in the real estate and home repair industries.

That’s why in 2004 he began an encore career with a higher purpose: helping end veterans’ homelessness leading the Albany Housing Coalition, which provides at least 50 homeless veterans a day with emergency shelter, transitional housing, affordable rentals and permanent homes.

Narendra P. Sharma , Neighborhood Outreach Connection
Founding Chair
Neighborhood Outreach Connection
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

When he retired in 2005 after three decades in finance and economic development at the World Bank, Narendra Sharma moved to the famous resort island of Hilton Head in South Carolina. Retirement gave way to a higher purpose when he discovered pockets of entrenched poverty where few adults have jobs, half of children fail to meet school standards and crime is rampant in Hilton Head and Bluffton.

Richard Roy , Center for Earth Leadership
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.”

Peter Rosten , MAPS Media Institute
Founder and President
MAPS Media Institute
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

After more than 35 years as a film and television writer, producer and director, Peter Rosten had had enough of Hollywood, and in 2002 he decamped for rural Darby, Montana. He soon noted a social need in his new community: a paucity of arts education. He saw budget shortages, economic disadvantage and an education environment that left the arts behind.

Bill  Ristow  and Theresa  Morrow
International Journalism Trainers

Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

After decades working as journalists in Seattle, husband and wife Bill Ristow and Theresa Morrow were looking for a new purpose. Their five children were grown, and their parents had passed away.

“For the first time in our lives, we didn’t have responsibilities to determine our future,” Ristow says. “We began to look for opportunities that would allow us to pass on the knowledge we had accumulated, most of it in journalism.”

John Reynolds , Veterans2Work
Founder and Executive Director
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Having served as a rifleman in Vietnam, John Reynolds had experienced firsthand the challenges many soldiers have reintegrating into civilian life. While he had gone on to a successful career in business, including 22 years at the helm of Intervox Group, the management consulting company he founded, he knew that many vets struggled. “I had a deeply personal connection to the hardships that today’s young men and women face following their service,” he says.

T.V. Ramakrishna  and Vijaya Ramakrishna , Sahasra Deepika International for Education
Sahasra Deepika International for Education
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

T.V. and Vijaya Ramakrishna had successful careers in the U.S. for decades, he as an engineer and she as a businesswoman. But as they approached retirement, neither forgot the challenges they faced growing up in India. T.V. lived in deep poverty. Education had been his ticket out. Vijaya hadn’t been poor, but her father’s bias against educating girls kept her out of college. They knew that poverty and discrimination are still the norm for millions of children in India.

Irene Pritzker , IDP Foundation, Inc.
IDP Foundation, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2013

Visiting Africa, IDP Foundation president Irene Pritzker witnessed firsthand the deplorable conditions of Ghana’s poor, low-cost private schools - no books, no ventilation, open sewage. When she learned they rarely qualified for government funding or international aid, she knew she had found a higher purpose and an encore career.

“I knew from the beginning that my passion was education, specifically targeting the very poor and marginalized,” says Pritzker, who was trained as a schoolteacher but spent decades managing her family investments.

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