AARP Minnesota and Pollen unveiled the first ever Minnesota 50 over 50 list.
The 50 individuals are being honored as accomplished community leaders who are defying stereotypes about aging. A number of residents from Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater Minnesota regions have been selected as leaders on the 50 over 50 list.
“This list confirms the amazing contribution being made by Minnesotans over the age of 50. These outstanding individuals are leading and inspiring communities of all kinds, colors and sizes. It is a remarkable list that only begins to tell the tale of what older Minnesotans are accomplishing,” said Seth Boffeli, interim director of AARP Minnesota.
“Ageism is real. 50 over 50 not only recognizes the accomplishments and possibilities that come with age, but by celebrating these leaders we dismantle wrong and hurtful stereotypes about aging,” said Jamie Millard, executive director of Pollen.
The final 50 honorees were selected from a pool of 350 nominations that were submitted earlier in the year. Candidates were nominated in five different categories; nonprofit, arts and culture, community building, business and disruptor. A 10 member selection panel worked with AARP and Pollen to determine the final honorees.
Among the honorees is Bill Cottman of North Minneapolis. Seventy-two-year old Cottman hosts “Mostly Jazz” Saturday mornings on KFAI. He is also a noted photographer.
Marvin Roger Anderson, 76, of St. Paul was honored for his service to the Rondo Neighborhood.
Anderson is the co-founder of Rondo Avenue, Inc. and the man behind Rondo Days, He’s now leading a new effort to design and construct the Rondo Commemorative Plaza, a community space for contemplation, education and inspiration. At the corner of Fisk Street and Old Rondo Avenue, the plaza will feature interactive displays and kiosks that tell the history of how neighbors worked together to rebuild their community.
Arlene El-Amin of Minneapolis, 70, runs Masjid An Nur mosque in North Minneapolis and is the only African-American woman running an area mosque. She also serves on the national board of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Also honored was Paul Williams, 53, Minneapolis, who worked at the St. Paul Foundation creating a culturally-specific endowment serving Minnesota’s Native-American, Pan-African, Latino and Asian communities. St. Paul’s former deputy mayor, he is now the CEO of Project for Pride in Living, a nonprofit that helps low-income people become self-reliant, helping people find both employment and affordable housing.
Carolyn Holbrook, 71, of St. Paul believes in the healing power of the arts. She founded SASE: The Write Place in 1993 to support writers of racial and cultural minorities. She also designed the writers-in-the-schools program for the Givens Foundation for African American Literature.
Fifteen years ago, Margaret Lovejoy, now age 73, cashed in her retirement accounts to create The Family Place, a St. Paul day center for families without permanent housing for which she has since raised more than $6 million. The center provides meals and a learning environment for people of all ages to enhance their living situation. The center also features the nation’s only Montessori program for children in transition, a leadership program for youth, as well as a 16-week life skills course for parents.
Sam Grant, 53, has been on the faculty of Metropolitan State University, since 1990. He also leads Everybody In, serves as faculty director for Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs’ environmental sustainability program, and facilitates work on intercultural understandings of racial and cultural healing as a private consultant. His reach extends beyond Minnesota thanks to his global work facilitating deep democracy and developing eco-villages in Africa.