Church of the Brethren Gardener Is Honored as a Purpose Prize Fellow

Courtesy of Global Food Crisis Fund
Dawn Blackman at Randolph Community Garden.

Dawn Blackman Sr. of Champaign (Ill.) Church of the Brethren has been honored as a 2015 Purpose Prize Fellow by for her leadership in running a community garden that is associated with the congregation. The Randolph Street Community Garden is one of the gardens that has received grants from the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) through the Going to the Garden initiative.

“The GFCF provided two separate $1,000 grants,” reported GFCF manager Jeff Boshart. Blackman “has many more plans for future expansion and the GFCF hopes to see how we can be part of helping her to keep on dreaming of ways to serve the neighborhood around the Champaign Church of the Brethren.”

The Purpose Prize recognizes social innovators who are over 60 years old. On Nov. 13, “honored the achievements of more than 50 outstanding individuals working to improve local communities and the world,” said a release. describes itself as “a national nonprofit that is building a movement to tap the experience of people in midlife and beyond who are using their encore years–the time of traditional retirement–to undertake powerful social-impact projects.”

This year Blackman was among 41 Purpose Prize Fellows who were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominees. “Their examples shine as models for millions of Americans who believe they can use their life experience to make a difference,” said the release.

The 26 jurors who chose the Purpose Prize honorees included Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount; Michael D. Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company and co-founder of The Eisner Foundation; Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post; Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP; Eric Liu, author and founder of Citizen University; and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The 2015 Purpose Prize winners and fellows will be joined by dozens of previous Purpose Prize honorees at a celebration on Feb. 10, 2016, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco, Calif.

Find out more about Blackman’s work and the honor she has received at Find out more about the ministry of the GFCF at www.brethren.ofg/gfcf.

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