CNN names ‘Impact 10’ winners for which a big honor comes with a lot of strings attached


“A person or organization that makes the world a better place in measurable and significant ways” is the criteria that CNN uses to determine what it calls its Impact 10. This year, the New York-based cable news network announced the winners of the seventh annual annual ceremony, which takes place in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

The Influence 10 is a selection that stands apart in that it requires that all 10 must be based in the United States, most are in their 60s or older, and have a defined agenda and or accomplishments to leave behind. The two Most Impactful Online Person Award winners, Derrek Elder and Josh Feldman, are two entrepreneurs who have created not-for-profit companies that empower their communities through digital platforms. Elder, who founded the nonprofit Before You Make It, launched the site in 2008, while Feldman is CEO of YouGiveGoods, which awards online giving campaigns, matching supporters with non-profits. “The force of charitable giving and the tangible growth that comes from it need not necessarily start in New York, or any big city, but instead, should start here in a sleepy, under-resourced area of the world,” said CNN Editorial Director Sallie Hofmeister. “These men and women transcend barriers and break the rules, or at least, those rules we often make in our minds.”

The Impact 10 are New York-based executives, politicians, arts luminaries, and others who have also made significant contributions to their communities. Those competing for this year’s Impact 10 awards are: Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund; Meredith Patton, senior vice president of governance at the Walt Disney Company; Larry Gagosian, art collector and dealer; Laraine Newman, comedian; Marc Benioff, head of Salesforce; Adele Diamond, newspaper columnist and founding member of J-PAC, a not-for-profit that promotes diversity and inclusion in media and the arts; Jeff Feingold, software engineer; Jason Karp, founder and CEO of Tumblr; Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook; Zach Greenberg, CEO of Bead Commerce; Alison Holcomb, special assistant to the president; James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research; Sharon Lechter, CEO of Mathplace; and Emily Rauh, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s not quite like winning an Oscar, but it has its own touch of prestige. The Impact 10 award represents CNN’s determination to place “real people in real situations,” said Hofmeister. “These 10 finalists not only have made a considerable impact on the world, but also have bright futures ahead of them.”

Last year’s winners included Debra Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks; Katherine Harris, former chair of the Florida Board of Elections; Jennifer Schneider, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation; Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times; Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute; Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute; and Diane Winston, SVP and COO of Bloomberg Media.

You can watch the Impact 10 award ceremony live stream on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET.


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