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Glenn Close, Alma Powell, and Quincy Jones to Be Honored at AARP The Magazine's 2009 Inspire Awards
Date:11/24/2008

tics as a CBS news producer. He also married Meredith Vieira, now co-host of NBC's Today show, with whom he has three children. But in 2004, when he was giving a talk at his local library about his bestselling memoir, Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness, Cohen overheard members of the audience talking about their own struggles with chronic illness and thought, "Someone ought to write a book telling other people's stories." So he did. Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, A Chorus of Hope came out in January 2008 and it was quickly followed by a pioneering radio program that addresses issues faced by the millions with an incurable disease. "Everybody is touched by chronic illness," Cohen says. "It's the flood under the door."

Martin Eakes - Lender to the Poor

Martin Eakes bet his career on a contrarian notion: poor people are better at borrowing money than the rich. His Durham, North Carolina community credit union, Self-Help (www.self-help.org), serves a clientele of classic credit risks -- among them, low-income families and single mothers. The default rate for these so-called toxic borrowers? About one percent. "If I have a choice between making a loan to a rich person or one to a poor person, solely on grounds of credit risk, I'll pick a poor person every time," says Eakes. "They simply take care of their debts better." Since Eakes started Self-Help in 1984, it has provided more than $5.24 billion in financing to 60,130 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits. In 1999, he led the battle for North Carolina's pioneering anti-predatory-lending law and, as early as 2002, warned federal legislators that corrupt financial practices had set the scene for a massive wave of foreclosures. He's now battling to make sure that the subprime mortgage meltdown doesn't further victimize the most vulnerable.

Katherine Freund
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SOURCE AARP
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