This year’s winners of The Purpose Prize, a $100,000 award for social innovators in their encore careers, are ordinary people using a new stage of life to do extraordinary things. They include:

* A former telecom executive who helped wire an Appalachian county and brought laid-off factory workers back to profitable farming;

* A professor who invented a way to transform toxic fly ash into green bricks;

* A psychiatrist who helps saves soldiers’ lives by offering free mental health treatment;

* A former NASA exec who works to treat alcoholism in Native American communities by reviving old customs and traditions; and

* A couple who honor their son, killed on 9/11, by helping to bring mental health services to countries ravaged by terrorism, violence and war.

These people – and five other $50,000 winners – are social entrepreneurs over 60 who are using their experience and passion to take on society’s biggest challenges. Now in its fourth year, the six-year, $17 million program is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life.

The Purpose Prize is a program of the Encore Careers campaign run by Civic Ventures, a national think tank on boomers, work and social purpose.