The John Templeton Foundation on Wednesday named Jean Vanier, the Canadian founder of a global network of supportive households for people with mental illnesses, as the 2015 winner of its annual prize honoring work that affirms life's spiritual dimension, Reuters writes. L'Arche (The Ark), which Mr. Vanier launched in 1964 by inviting two mentally ill men to live with him in a village north of Paris, now encompasses 147 communities in 35 countries.
The 86-year-old philosopher and theologian also founded Faith and Light, an association of support groups for friends and family of learning-disabled people. The Templeton Foundation said Mr. Vanier's message of compassion for weaker members of society "has the potential to change the world for the better." The $1.7 million prize, established in 1972 by the late investor John Templeton, is one of the world's most lucrative philanthropic awards for individual achievement.