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November 3, 2011
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County foster care advocate named Purpose Prize Fellow

Civic Ventures today announced that Gail Johnson Vaughan, of Grass Valley, is a 2011 Purpose Prize fellow.

Johnson Vaughan 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.

Johnson Vaughan, executive director of Mission Focused Solutions was named a fellow because of her successful efforts to improve permanency outcomes for children growing up in California's child welfare system.

Of particular interest to Civic Ventures is Johnson Vaughan's innovative fundamental budget reform methodology for funding specialized youth permanence services for foster youth age 11-18.

"We know how to find permanent families for children and youth in foster care. And we have shown that doing so can cost far less, even in same budget year, than keeping them in care. We have a moral and fiscal imperative to implement policies and practices that give all our children "forever families," reads a press release from Civic Ventures.

Through Johnson Vaughan's efforts the counties of Nevada, Sacramento, and Placer have implemented these methodologies. Her goal is now to spread the innovation throughout California and the nation.

"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, including NBC's Jane Pauley and Sherry Lansing, CEO of The Sherry Lansing Foundation and former chair of Paramount Motion Picture Group. The 28 judges - leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector - chose the five winners from a pool of more than 1,000 nominees.

"Being a Purpose Prize Fellow is an immense honor with huge potential to change the lives of children and youth languishing in foster care. The honor should be extended to the leaders in Nevada, Placer and Sacramento counties as well. They are able to see beyond the self-imposed funding silos that prevent other counties from making budget decisions that save lives and save dollars", said Johnson Vaughan.

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:

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The Union Updated Nov 3, 2011 10:27AM Published Nov 3, 2011 10:17AM Copyright 2011 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.