Atlantan, Susan Anderson, Named 2011 Purpose Prize Fellow

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The "Purpose Prize" Honors Americans Over Age 60 for Making an Extraordinary Impact in the Encore Careers

Civic Ventures, San Francisco, CA, has announced that Susan Anderson, Founder, The ArtReach Foundation,® is a 2011 Purpose Prize Fellow. Anderson was recognized as a social entrepreneur over 60 who, in her encore career, is using her experience and passion to make an extraordinary impact on society's biggest challenges. Now in its sixth year, the $17 million Purpose Prize program is the nation's only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life.

Anderson, who has lived and worked in Atlanta since 1975, was named a Fellow because of her inspired work in building The ArtReach Foundation® (ArtReach), an Atlanta-based non-profit, pioneering in the area of therapeutic arts programs. The Foundation’s mission is to influence and assist, through creative expressive arts therapies, the growth and development of adults and children who have experienced the traumatic effects of war, violence, and/or natural disaster

In operation since 1999, ArtReach, under Anderson’s leadership, has sent training teams to conduct programs globally, as well as domestically, in the Foundation’s approach to healing the wounds of trauma. These teams consist of professionals from the fields of education, the creative arts, psychology and social work and have traveled to regions of conflict and natural disaster to bring new understanding in how the arts help heal individuals and communities. ArtReach teams have introduced hundreds of teachers, administrators, and healthcare professionals to a method that blends therapeutic activities based in the creative arts with experiential education. Many program participants have then carried this approach into their communities and trained others.. Thus, ArtReach and Anderson have created wide ripples in a global pond that have helped the healing of thousands.

After working for years with a focus on traumatized children in post-conflict regions such as Bosnia and Lebanon, ArtReach responded to issues of trauma back home, as well. Besides running programs for professionals in the Southeast, who were addressing the needs of displaced victims from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita victims, in 2009, the Foundation began an initiative called ArtReach Project America. This program, being piloted in Georgia, addresses the residual effects of war on U.S. military returning with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Anderson has witnessed, through careful and powerful humanitarian work, the human spirit triumph over insurmountable odds through creativity, reflection, and support from a well-trained team. Through Anderson’s dedication, ArtReach has guided the renewal and growth of hope of countless victims of trauma and abuse on their journey of healing and recovery. Her fruitful efforts have been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative, the International Academy of Medicine, and supportive local congressmen such as John Lewis, D-GA.

Anderson hopes that becoming a Fellow will help build public awareness of the Foundation’s work and its need for expanded support. Her vision is that every child, veteran, or victim who suffers from trauma may be able to access ArtReach’s powerful multi-faceted programs.

"Through our work in Bosnia, and the Middle East, we realized that we are a catalyst for change," Susan Anderson states in a poignant new documentary on ArtReach's website, "We offer this in a program that is all about healing through imagination. We saw it happen last year when we launched our Middle East Institute, and we want more of that; we want to train more and more people in our model so that they can take it into their settings, and build it the same way we did in Bosnia and here at home."

"While Purpose Prize Fellows are helping to solve a wide range of pressing social problems, they have one thing in common," said Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Civic Ventures and author of The Big Shift (PublicAffairs Books). "They- and millions of others in encore careers- are turning personal passions and decades of experience into invaluable contributions across sectors, continents and generations, often through entrepreneurship."

The approximately 300 attendees of the invitation-only Purpose Prize awards ceremony will hear from Prize judges. The 28 judges are leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector and include such people as NBC's Jane Pauley and Sherry Lansing, CEO of The Sherry Lansing Foundation and former chair of Paramount Motion Picture Group.

Funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation, The Purpose Prize is a program of Civic Ventures' Encore Careers campaign (, which aims to engage millions of boomers in encore careers combining personal meaning, continued income and social impact in the second half of life.

For more information about The Purpose Prize, visit
For more information about The ArtReach Foundation, visit

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Jenny Constantino
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