Allan Barsema wins Purpose Prize

Amy Kreeger

Allan Barsema, senior research associate for the Center of Government Studies, was one of 10 nominees who won the Purpose Prize.

The award is given to honor making an extraordinary impact on the community in an encore career. There were more than 1,400 nominees entered, and he was one out of 10 who won the $100,000 prize, and five others received $50,000.

Barsema said he was ecstatic and humbled to have won.

“I really want to emphasize that we are donating all the money back into a new project my wife and I are developing called ‘One Body Collaboratives,'” Barsema said.

The project will utilize previous methods in other projects to coordinate faith based resources in order to help individual family needs such as child care, getting people jobs and minor housing projects, he said.

“We are doing a national demonstration between NIU and Baylor University,” Barsema said.

Robert Gleeson, director of governmental studies, has worked with Barsema and has been his employer for two years.

“We have worked together for a total of six years, and I really enjoy working with him,” Gleeson said.

Gleeson will be working on the new project as well.

They will be doing a national demonstration in order to show the progress made thus far. According to the project’s website, “the One Body Demonstration Project is an innovative, five-year initiative devoted to improving outcomes in the U.S. social service delivery system by connecting church and faith-based resources with innovative and collaborative initiatives among social service providers in a learning network of communities throughout the U.S.”

Several local communities have already committed to being involved in this.

“The 10 city demonstration will include Chicago, Rockford, and places in Lake and DuPage County,” Gleeson said.

Barsema said he would like to thank the technology companies, social service agencies, guests in the homeless centers for letting him help them and all the participants in NIU.