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LaPlata, MD – today announced that Ed Nicholson, Founder and President of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, is a 2012 Purpose Prize fellow. The Purpose Prize is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social entrepreneurs and other creative problem solvers in the second half of life.

Nicholson was named a fellow because of his efforts to aid the rehabilitation of injured, wounded and disabled military service personnel through Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. Nicholson started the first program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in 2005. A retired Navy Captain who was there for his own medical care, he saw young service members who had been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan and was inspired to teach them fly fishing and fly tying for both recreation and therapy. The program caught on with patients and physical therapists and today has more than 140 programs at Department of Defense and Veterans Administration facilities across the U.S. There are also partner programs in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

edpurposeprize“Purpose Prize fellows are using their passion and experience to help solve some of society’s steepest challenges,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of and author of The Big Shift. “They represent a growing wave of people in their 60s and beyond who are using their knowhow to change the world, while shifting perceptions of what is possible in this stage of life.”

The Purpose Prize program is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Prize is awarded by (the new name for Civic Ventures), a nonprofit that promotes encore careers – work that is both personally meaningful and serves the greater good.

“I remain committed to helping our disabled veterans and service members enjoy a better life, through participation in fly fishing education and outings,” Nicholson said. “More importantly, we have found that the program helps build lasting mentoring relationships that follow our participants as they transition to civilian life and reintegrate with family,” he added. “I am honored to have been selected as a Purpose Prize Fellow in recognition of the incredible work all our volunteers have done to advance the cause of PHWFF – serving our disabled veterans across the United States and abroad.”

A panel of 23 judges – leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector – chose the five winners from a pool of more than 800 nominees. This year’s 35 fellows are finalists for The Prize. An awards ceremony will be held in February in San Francisco.

For more information about The Purpose Prize, visit:


About (
is a nonprofit organization building a movement to make it easier for millions of people to pursue “encore careers” – second acts for the greater good. The Purpose Prize, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies, is a program of