Hometown: Silver Spring
Cause: Immigrants’ retirement
In 1972 Mona Negm saw poor African-American seniors in Montgomery County — one of the wealthiest counties in America — living in an industrial sector of the city of Rockville; they were miles away from the nearest food bank and other resources and not well-served by public transportation. Determined to help, she went to the local government and received a $75,000 grant to buy food to feed the hungry seniors. Negm went on to work at AARP, where she designed similar outreach programs across the country. Now retired, Negm volunteers at the town’s Muslim community center, where she heads up a holistic retirement planning program for immigrants that brings in (among other instructors) retirement planners and economists to teach about investing, avoiding fraud, and Social Security benefits.