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Do you know a volunteer aged 50+ who makes a significant difference in the world? Perhaps it's someone who goes above and beyond reasonable expectations when giving back or has created a truly impactful initiative that helps others. Consider nominating these exceptional volunteers in your life for the Andrus Award, AARP’s most prestigious honor for volunteers.

Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus: A Trailblazer in Advocacy and Volunteerism
The Andrus Award is named after AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. After retiring to care for her aging mother, Dr. Andrus volunteered with the California Retired Teachers Association, where she witnessed teachers struggling with inflation and rising healthcare costs. A turning point came when she met a former teacher living in a chicken coop due to inadequate income. Determined to help, she established the National Retired Teachers Association in 1947 to create affordable group health insurance for retired teachers. Despite being rejected by 42 insurance companies, she eventually succeeded, and her efforts led to the formation of AARP.

Honoring Exceptional Volunteers
Dr. Andrus lived her life by the motto, “To serve, not to be served,” which remains AARP’s motto today. AARP strives to create a society where everyone ages with dignity, helping people fulfill their goals and dreams. Its mission is to empower individuals to choose how they live as they age. Each year, every AARP State Office selects an Andrus Award recipient, honoring volunteers aged 50 and older for their outstanding achievements and service. Nominations are open and may be submitted by AARP members, volunteers, chapter or unit members, external organizations or groups, and members of the public. 

To be eligible for the award, volunteers must:

  • Be at least 50 years old
  • Have made significant contributions through their volunteer work   without pay (small stipends to cover expenses are acceptable),   and reflect AARP’s vision and purpose
  • Live in the state in which the award would be granted

Additionally, volunteer work that is partisan in nature is not eligible, and the individual may not be an elected or appointed official or campaigning for office. Married couples or domestic partners who perform service together are eligible, but groups are not. The recipient does not need to be an AARP volunteer. Previous Andrus Award winners are not eligible. You can find more information about eligibility here

The nomination deadline varies by state through July 15. Be sure to check your state AARP office’s deadline to ensure your application is submitted on time.

Honoring Dr. Andrus’ Legacy
In honor of Dr. Andrus’ legacy, AARP offers a range of volunteer opportunities to make a difference in communities across the country. These programs include:

And more, offering endless ways to make a significant impact. To learn more about the full breadth of AARP volunteer programs, please visit