It is time to show Minnesota the true face of aging—vibrant, experienced, dedicated individuals who are making an impact in our state and show no signs of slowing down. 



AARP Minnesota and Pollen's 50 Over 50 list celebrates and recognizes Minnesotans over the age of 50 who have made significant contributions and achievements in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, in the arts and community, and in disrupting our outdated beliefs about aging.



People working to grow and strengthen the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors including educational institutions.

Artists, writers, musicians, performers, thespians, filmmakers, and other creatives who contribute to Minnesota’s thriving culture.

Business leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs who are growing Minnesota’s economy while being good stewards of our resources and talent.

Individuals working to make their communities stronger by volunteering, organizing, or serving in public office.

People who don’t settle for the status quo, who tear down obstacles for change, who see opportunity where others don’t, who break new ground, and who shake things up.


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Marcia Ballinger
Co-Founder and Principal at Ballinger|Leafblad, 2016 50 Over 50 Honoree

Terri Barreiro
Owner and Principal at Terri Barreiro Consulting Services, 2016 50 Over 50 Honoree

Pakou Hang
Hmong American Farmers Association

Matt Kramer
University of Minnesota, 2016 50 Over 50 Honoree

Jimmy Longoria

Rose McGee
Sweet Potato Comfort Pie, 2018 50 Over 50 Honoree

Kate Schaefers
Volunteer State President of AARP Minnesota and Executive Director of University of Minnesota Advanced Careers

Sandy Vargas
Senior Executive Leadership Fellow with the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 2017 50 Over 50 Honoree

Ellen Walthour
The BrandLab

Jonathan Weinhagen
Minneapolis Regional Chamber



Nominees from each of the five categories are judged on what they’ve done to lead and inspire others, make an impact on their community, and show the value of older Minnesotans through their actions.

Through the stories of these Minnesota leaders, we can highlight the opportunities that come with age and dispel the myth that an aging population will be a burden to our state.




Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Nominee must be at least 50 years old as of May 13, 2019.

  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must have an impact on at least one community in Minnesota.

  • The recipient must live in Minnesota.

  • This is not a posthumous award.

  • You cannot nominate yourself.

  • Couples or business partners will be counted as a singular nomination.





The final list of "50 Over 50" honorees is determined by AARP-MN, Pollen, and a selection committee comprised of cross-sector community leaders from across the state. Two selection committee members each review nominations within the nonprofit, arts, community building, business, and disruption categories.

The nomination period is open until May 13, 2019.  AARP-MN and Pollen will conduct an initial review of nominations and submit a robust list of nominees to the selection committee, who will make the final determination of which ten nominees in each category are chosen.

The "50 Over 50" list will be announced in late-August.


  • Avoid generalizations. Be specific.

  • Tell a story that distinguishes your nominee from other accomplished leaders in the state.

  • Provide concrete details about your nominee's accomplishments.

  • Give specific examples about how your nominee makes a positive impact on people's lives.

  • Give specific examples about how your nominee's contributions make your community better or different.

  • Demonstrate patterns of professional milestones over time.

  • Look to the nominations of these 2016 honorees for inspiration.


brought to you by

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 650,000 in Minnesota and nearly 38 million nationwide that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security, and personal fulfillment. AARP volunteers offer community programing across Minnesota including: AARP Tax Aide, AARP Experience Corps, AARP Fraud Watch Network, Life Reimagined and the AARP Safe Drivers program. To learn more, visit

Pollen is a media arts organization that fosters empathy, encourages connection across difference, and inspires meaningful action by sharing stories of individuals who want to change our collective story for the better.  Through our narrative experiences, Pollen grows a network of Pollenites who have an unwavering belief in equity, empathy, and our shared humanity. Our social enterprise, Pollen Studio, brings our narrative expertise to mission-driven organizations looking to tell their stories in new and engaging ways. Success will be found in the sum of all the connections and actions made by these organizations and by Pollenites, inspired by the platform, the space, and the hive that Pollen creates.