American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), oldest and largest advocacy group for senior citizens in the United States. AARP is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping older Americans achieve lives of independence, dignity, and purpose. AARP's motto is: "To Serve, Not to Be Served.".
AARP, founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired educator, has more than 30 million members and more than 4000 chapters throughout the United States. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Membership is open to all persons over the age of 50, whether working or retired. More than one-third of the group's members work. The organization is funded largely by annual membership dues, which cover the member and his or her spouse. Membership includes a subscription to the bimonthly magazine Modern Maturity, and the Bulletin, a newspaper published 11 times a year. The organization also distributes a wide range of other publications to its membership.
AARP monitors local and national legislation of interest to its members. However, AARP is a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse political candidates. The organization runs a volunteer program called "AARP/VOTE," which educates voters about issues of concern to senior citizens. AARP's long-term goals include economic security for the elderly and affordable comprehensive health care for all. AARP also works to improve attitudes about the elderly in the workplace and conducts research about the needs of an aging population.
AARP runs an extensive nationwide volunteer network aimed at improving the self-worth and self-reliance of senior citizens. More than 160,000 volunteers are involved in various AARP projects. The Grandparent Information Center provides information and support to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. AARP offers training for lawyers who represent the elderly and a nine-state free legal hotline for senior citizens.