National Geographic : 2008 May
ARP: Founded on* the simple premise that noone L shoul hvet ol-iv -i i e . In 1947 on a meager pension, it was all one retired teacher could afford. That's when Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school principal, made a shocking discovery. On a visit to a former teacher, she found the woman living in an old chicken coop, in poor health and unable to afford medical care. Ethel got mad. She also got organized. After helping that first teacher, she turned her efforts to helping others with a campaign to obtain affordable health insurance for retired teachers. Over 40 companies turned her down, but she persevered and eventually succeeded. She soon discovered that many other older people needed help as well, and in 1958, she founded AARP. championing the needs of our members and the future of every generation. We do this by focusing on the five things every generation shares: * The need for health * The need for financial security * The need for community * The need to give back to society * The need to enjoy life Meeting these needs and ensuring the quality of life for all as we age is no small task. It requires a unique three-part organization. AARP, the nonprofit parent, is a strong nonpartisan advocate for consumer rights and provides trusted information with our publications, voter education guides, research and a website that cover the issues our members care about most. The AARP Foundation is the charitable arm of AARP. It provides services to both members and nonmembers - especially the most vulnerable in society. The Foundation delivers direct services such as the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance program and legal advocacy work to support the rights of older Americans across the country. Finally, AARP Services, Inc. makes available products and services designed specifically for the 50+ consumer - many of whom might otherwise be excluded from the market. AARP Services does this by working with leading businesses to identify and respond to the ever-changing needs of Americans as they age. These relationships not only help shape the marketplace, but also earn revenue that helps AARP achieve its mission of leading positive social change and delivering value to members. When she founded AARP 50 years ago, Ethel proclaimed that "an army of useful citizens" can do what no one person can. Today we at AARP champion her dream and serve all generations through vigorous action and by never forgetting the one act of compassion that started it all. Learn more about AARP's history and our continuing mission at aarp.org/champion.