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"Washington DC’s Kenneth Barnes, Sr, Named 2009 Purpose Prize Fellow for Innovation, Extraordinary Contribution in Encore Career"

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Washington, DC — Kenneth Barnes has been named a 2009 Purpose Prize Fellow, an honor for social entrepreneurs over 60 who are using their experience and passion to take on society’s biggest challenges. Now in its fourth year, the six-year, $17 million program is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life.

Kenneth Barnes, Sr., the founder/CEO of the Washington, DC-based ROOT (Reaching Out to Others Together), Inc was named a Fellow for his work on behalf of victims of crime and gun violence not only in his native Washington, DC, but throughout the US. In April of this year, Mr. Barnes was the recipient of the National Service Award presented to him by the Attorney General of the United States during National Victims of Crime Week. This honor is the highest awarded to an individual based upon their work on behalf of victims of crime. Just this past month, Mr. Barnes was the recipient of the BET Hometown Hero of the Year award. Since his son was brutally murdered in 2001, he has worked tirelessly and ceaselessly to develop an awareness campaign, programs, and initiatives to help prevent gun violence from a public health perspective, rather than wait to react to violence, as he feels is so often the norm today.

Kenneth Barnes will join 46 other Purpose Prize Fellows at a Summit on Innovation on Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’ Center on Social Innovation, one of the world’s leading academic centers focused on social entrepreneurship.

The fellows underscore a trend in entrepreneurialism later in life. According to studies by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the 55-64 age group is the most active in creating new ventures. Counter to stereotype, people ages 20-34, the study found, are the least entrepreneurial.

“More than ever, the problems facing our communities, country and world call out for creative solutions,” said Marc Freedman, co-founder of The Purpose Prize and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. “Fortunately, we don’t run out of ideas as we age.

“Like so many others in this new stage of life between the end of mid-life careers and the beginning of true old age, The Purpose Prize fellows combine creativity, experience and passion with a desire to do something bigger than themselves,” Freeman continued.

It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Purpose Prize and be awarded a Fellowship. It is further an honor that the Purpose Prize and all involved recognize our efforts to bring the awareness of gun violence as a public health issue to the forefront of attention. Kenneth E, Barnes, Sr., MS.

The Purpose Prize supports Fellows by helping develop their capacity, linking them with funders and venture philanthropists and connecting them to other social innovators over 60. It is part of the Encore Careers campaign run by Civic Ventures, a national think tank on boomers, work and social purpose. Funding for The Purpose Prize comes from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation.

Sherry Lansing, CEO of the Sherry Lansing Foundation and former chair of Paramount Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, chairs the jury that selected this year’s winners. The 24 judges are leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector – including actor Sidney Poitier, social entrepreneur Thomas Tierney, former Senator Harris Wofford and journalist Cokie Roberts.

The Purpose Prize is a program of the Encore Careers campaign (, which aims to engage millions of boomers in encore careers combining social impact, personal meaning and continued income in the second half of life. The goal: produce a windfall of human talent to solve society’s greatest problems, from education to the environment, health care to homelessness.

For more information, visit

About Civic Ventures (

Civic Ventures is a national think tank on boomers, work and social purpose.

About The Atlantic Philanthropies (

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Their work is aimed at ageing, disadvantaged children and youth, population health, and reconciliation and human rights.

About the John Templeton Foundation (

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for research and discoveries relating to what scientists and philosophers call the Big Questions. The Foundation supports work at the world's top universities in such fields as theoretical physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, cognitive science, and social science relating to love, forgiveness, creativity, purpose, and the nature and origin of religious belief.

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