The Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson Named One of Five AARP 2023 Purpose Prize Winners

The Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson

The Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson, president and CEO of MOLO Village, CDC (Community Development Corporation) and senior pastor of St. Peter’s UCC — both in Louisville, Ky. — has been named one of AARP’s 2023 Purpose Prize Award recipients. The one-of-a-kind national award honors people aged 50 and older who have proven that they are using their knowledge and life experience to make a difference. The five award winners each receive $50,000 for their organizations. Additionally, 10 Purpose Prize Fellows were selected, each of whom will receive $10,000 for their organizations.

“The 2023 AARP Purpose Prize Award has brought more public recognition to the good work that MOLO Village currently provides in the Russell neighborhood in the West End of Louisville,” said Ferguson. “The financial support from the award will assist the organization in offering more social service resources to the people in our under-served community.”

The award also comes with a year of technical support to help broaden the scope of each organization’s work. Additionally, the five Purpose Prize winners are eligible for AARP’s Inspire Award, which provides an additional $10,000 to the winner. The Inspire Award is decided by a public vote. The winner of the Inspire Award will be notified by Oct. 15, and will be honored — along with all of the Purpose Prize Awardees and Fellows — at an in-person celebration in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 25, 2022. The public can view individual videos from each of the Purpose Prize Winners and then vote for an Inspire Award winner.

Watch the Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson’s video and cast your vote for AARP’s Inspire Award.

Purpose Prize entries are reviewed based on 5 criteria:

  • Impact: Clearly documented impact of the population served.
  • Execution: How the nonprofit is structured, staffed and funded, including the strategies in place to successfully implement and sustain the work.
  • Personal Story: The connection between the founder’s life that drew that person to the work and compelled them to make a difference.
  • Innovation: A new approach to an existing or emerging problem, or creative way of building on an old idea to reach more people.
  • Equitable Social Purpose: Clearly documented steps to imbed the concepts of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Equality in the organizational structure to support marginalized communities.

“CHHSM is thrilled to congratulate the Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson and MOLO Village on this recognition,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of the UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM), of which MOLO Village is a part. “This award highlights the important impact MOLO Village is having on the local Russell neighborhood in Louisville, and is one more example of how our CHHSM members are helping to build a more just, caring, compassionate, and equitable world.”

Purpose Prize winners and fellows also become part of the Purpose Prize community network, as well as their own “class” of honorees — a peer community of learning.

“Each of the winners and fellows deserve all of the praise and recognition we have to offer for their exemplary work,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “We celebrate these inspiring individuals, who have used their decades of life experience to give back in a meaningful way, to be leaders in their communities, and to create a better future for us all.”

The 2023 AARP Purpose Prize Winners:

  • The Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson, Louisville, Ky., MOLO Village, CDC — Molo (“welcome” in the South African dialect Xhosa) Village is a grassroots organization committed to holistically addressing complex issues that the neighborhood of Russell — a once-thriving African American community — now experiences, including poverty, inadequate housing, limited food access, low educational attainment and systemic racism.
  • Zerqa Abid, Columbus, Ohio — MY Project USA MY Project USA protects youth from drugs, gangs and human trafficking by empowering them through sports, social services and civic engagement.
  • Sharron Rush, Austin, Texas, Knowbility — Knowbility’s mission is to create an inclusive digital world for people with disabilities.
  • Bill Toone, Escondido, Calif., ECOLIFE Conservation — ECOLIFE Conservation’s mission is to protect wildlife, natural resources and the people who depend on them.
  • Dr. Imani Woody, Washington, D.C., Mary’s House for Older Adults — Mary’s House for Older Adults Inc. is committed to helping its community by developing housing and inclusive environments that comprehensively address affordability and access, and eliminate the constant worry of discrimination or even violence based upon the LGBTQ+/SGL status of the individual.

The 2023 AARP Purpose Prize Fellows:

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