Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Purpose Prize

SFGate had a story yesterday about the Purpose Prize. Civic Ventures, a San Francisco nonprofit group, will award 5 Americans over 60, whose work has fostered significant social innovation, $100,000 to further their work. The awards will be given out in June at a national summit that will recognize the leaders and 60 semi-finalists.

Nominations (including self-nomination) will be accepted Dec. 1-Feb. 28 by mail and online. Their site goes live Dec. 1 at

Maybe I'll nominate my dad, Tom Aageson. He's 65 and doing, and has done, all kinds of groovy stuff. Right now he is the Executive Director of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation in Santa Fe. Although he's only been there a few years he's helped to create all kinds of cool things like the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market--the largest international folk art market in the United States. Not only does the Market give folk art collector folks an opportunity to see and buy work from all over the world, the coolest thing is what it means for the artists. As this article from The New Mexican reported:

The market's original planners envisioned not just a commercial venture to benefit the folk-art museum, but a platform with socially redeeming, trickle-down qualities . . . Each attending cooperative might represent, for example, 600 artists back home in Bangladesh.

As education-committee chairwoman Nancy Benkof explained: "In struggling regions such as Africa, rural India and the Middle East, the sale of locally produced folk art can provide income to feed families, educate children and stabilize lives disrupted by war and dislocation."

Before coming to the Foundation, he was the Executive Director for another have fun * do good organization, Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit that works with artisans from all over the world to help them develop products to sell, while maintaining their artistic and cultural integrity, and improving their business skills, so that the artisans are ultimately not dependent on Aid to Artisans.

While I was growing up, he was the Vice-President of Marketing and Merchandising for Mystic Seaport Museum for almost 20 years. Although that was more than a full-time job, during that time he helped found Martin House, a residential program that provides housing, three meals a day, and supportive services for 54 low-income adults, many who are mentally ill.

Oh yeah, and he used to organize a CROP walk almost every year in our town to raise money for local hunger agencies.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have a lot to be thankful for: my family, my friends, my work, my home and my health. I want to send a special thanks out to my Dad for being a great role model and a great dad.


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