Africa Bridge Founder Barry Childs Wins $100,000 Purpose Prize

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Childs is awarded the 2010 Purpose Prize for the work he initiated in 2000 through Africa Bridge, an Oregon nonprofit that assists vulnerable children and children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in rural Tanzania. The work of Africa Bridge is premised on listening to the children. It’s through children that Africa Bridge is able to glean authentic needs and implement integrated, sustainable development projects embraced by entire villages.

Africa Bridge founder Barry Childs with orphans in Tanzania

I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from Civic Ventures. Since its inception, Africa Bridge has helped over 3,000 children in Tanzania, along with their guardians and whole villages. With this generous award we will help 14,000 more children.

Africa Bridge announced that its founder, Barry S. Childs, is the recipient of the 2010 Purpose Prize®, which honors social entrepreneurs over 60 who use their experience and passion to address society’s most critical social problems. The Purpose Prize is sponsored by Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based nonprofit and is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation.

Mr. Childs is receiving this award for the work he initiated in 2000 through Africa Bridge, an Oregon nonprofit that assists vulnerable children and children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in rural Tanzania. In some villages, more than 40% of children are orphans or otherwise vulnerable.
“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from Civic Ventures,” said Barry Childs. “Since its inception, Africa Bridge has helped over 3,000 children in Tanzania, along with their guardians and whole villages. With this generous award, Africa Bridge will be able to expand its efforts into additional villages. Our dream over the next three years is to improve the well-being and futures for an additional 14,000 children.”

Childs launched Africa Bridge in response to the devastation that HIV/AIDS has caused to his homeland of Tanzania. The work of Africa Bridge is premised on listening to the children. It’s through children that Africa Bridge is able to glean authentic needs and implement integrated, sustainable development projects embraced by entire villages. Projects include school scholarships, micro loans, capital and training for farm cooperatives and yield improvement, livestock care, classroom and medical clinic construction, and support for Tanzania's Most Vulnerable Children Committees (MVCCs) that deliver psychosocial counseling and paralegal support. To date, Africa Bridge has set up 28 income-generating farming cooperatives for caregivers in 16 villages and built classrooms and clinics for thousands of children.

Childs will join nine other 2010 winners and 46 Purpose Prize fellows at the Purpose Prize Summit November 12-14 in Philadelphia. Now in its fifth year, the six-year, $17 million Prize program is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social entrepreneurs over 60 who are making extraordinary contributions in their encore careers.

“Purpose Prize winners are courageous, creative, passionate and strategic – all the qualities needed to make headway on some of our greatest challenges,” said Marc Freedman, Founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of the upcoming book The Big Shift (March, PublicAffairs Books). “It is the combination of these qualities, their decades of experience, and the sheer size of the baby boomer population that make social innovators in their encore careers a promising and invaluable asset to society.”

About Africa Bridge
Africa Bridge is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization established in 2000. Centered on the needs of orphans and other vulnerable children, Africa Bridge promotes family self-sufficiency, empowers women, and bolsters whole villages in rural Tanzania through integrated, sustainable development programs. See: http://www.africabridge.org for more information.

About the Purpose Prize
The Purpose Prize, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation, is a program of the Encore Careers campaign (http://www.encore.org) which aims to engage millions of baby boomers in encore careers combining social impact, personal meaning and continued income in the second half of life. The campaign is run by Civic Ventures, a national think tank on boomers, work and social purpose. Videos and photographs are online at http://www.encore.org/prize.

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Mary Frances Baldes
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