Content starts here
Honored Social Butterfly

Who Owns AARP?

It is a rather simple question for which I know I will not get a precise simple answer; however, I thought it worth asking.


It is not the members because members have no input into the terms of service or guidelines as relates to the operation of these discussion boards.


So who owns AARP?

Honored Social Butterfly is a 501(c)(4) - the IRC defines this as Civic leagues, social welfare organizations and local associations of employees, created to promote community welfare for charitable, educational or recreational purposes.


Since they are organized under this structure, there aren't any real "owner" like a private business has owners.  As with all nonprofits of whatever type, they are formed by somebody that sees a need and takes actions.   The actual AARP founder was a teacher.   They file for a nonprofit corporation structure to set it up legally with a name, get their clearance for non-profit type status with the IRS and then begin to work towards the mission.  Usually, in the beginning, the main workers are volunteers who get it off the ground.  Ethel Percy Andrus was the Founder of AARP - The History tells a lot about how it all came about.  


The bylaws of the organization determine how the organization is ran - like how the Board of Directors are chosen. I think you can find bylaws in this area: - Policybook


Many times, Boards are self-perpetuating, meaning the current Board will nominate and vote for new Board Members.  Sometimes state/federal laws legislate certain things for some non-profit types especially the ones that have financial exposure - like Credit Unions; don't know of any need with this AARP type.


Once a non-profit gets big enough and has an income stream which could be many steams as long as it stays focused on the mission, the BOD can begin to hire and pay staff.  Of course, is big enough to have a good income steam and several well-paid staff - once a non-profit gets that big the actual running of the organization is left to the top executives.  Large non-profits have basically the same organizational structure as a regular profit corporation - CEO, CFO, COO, etc. From there, they can have other heads of different departments to keep the organization running smoothly.


Here I am only speaking about - AARP Foundation is another non-profit entity which is set up as a charitable organization 501(c)(3).  And AARP Services, Inc. is the profitable arm which does all the finding and negotiations with vendors that offer services or something to AARP members.  Each works with the other for their respective benefit.


This isn't the kind of organization where members have a voice in the running and decision-making of the organization.  Although, I am sure they would listen to any member about a concern, desire or even a suggestion to help further the mission.  Membership gets you exactly what they say it gives you - services, various discounts [although everybody has to be their own judge of those], this place, a chance to volunteer at the local level to help further the mission.  


You can find a lot of information about all of this here:  AARP:  ABOUT AARP

Current BOD, the Executive Team, Volunteers and from there various current causes and actions they are taking to further the mission are also covered from that page.  


But who "owns" AARP - that really does not compute.

This forum board (the AARP community) is a perk - nothing more, nothing less.  It is a way to keep members, a way to entice new members, perhaps monitor what folks are saying about them or something else, something for people to do to stay engaged so maybe it is even part of the overall mission.


You and I are customers - if there is something that you want to complain about - you go up, and up and up the hierarchy with the complaint - but as with any LARGE organization of this type of structure - number can talk louder than one person especially with an organization as big and as diverse as this one.


Always enjoy your questions and comments.


It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
0 Kudos
Honored Social Butterfly



As always, I appreciate your thorough and comprehensive reply to my question.


I guess my concern is more of a question about the biases that I have encountered within the structure of AARP's discussion board's operation team.


Their wielding of absolute control over these boards without consequences has resulted in a wholesale exodus of users over the past couple of years.


I have attempted going "up" the organization but find the organization is more concerned with "protecting itself" than hearing complaints about a "perk" as you called it. It is here that the organization simulates what happens in the private sector.


What has resulted is a discussion board with NO DISCUSSION.


Posts go without responses because the users are now so few, or so bored, or so uninterested that activity on these boards has slowed to a crawl.


It is a shame that the actions of so few has had this result.



0 Kudos
Honored Social Butterfly

While I agree that this board has changed without the political discussion area - I think it has morphed into exactly what AARP wants of it.  


A place where people can participate in the Song/RockNRoll Area, play games, earn rewards, participate in expert seminars, chit-chat with others, inspirational sayings, etc.


While I think "politics" is out of their realm, government policies, programs, legislation, directly affecting this demographic, I think should be more emphasized here.  But I have posted numerous questions and articles on such subjects, and it just comes up with either "crickets" or a very few responses. 


But ya know, sometimes, my PM really lights up with questions and comments.  I just don't think people want to be bogged down here with long subjects - I see this on other boards too, like r e d d i t  or the  D U - people want their one liners; short answers and short comments not long discussions or very detailed Q & A to move it along.  And of course, nothing that might take a bit of research or data to support their views or discussions.


I do wish that community would create more expert discussions - like on topics of Housing, Social Security reform, Medicare changes, various financial oriented topics - things that are within their policy and mission realms and for which they are taking a stand.  I definitely don't always agree with their stand but opening up more discussion here MIGHT be enlightening for everybody.  


However, I doubt that there would be much participation here -  I just don't think that this (community) area has the staff or the time to carry out more.  I don't think that people come there for that sort of discussion, ideas or knowledge.


Try looking at how the drop-down forum list has changed - I think those are in priority order - things keep moving down further on the (priority) list.  Check it out.


Have a wonderful Holiday Season - Stay Safe, Stay Vaccinated, Mask Up. . . . ETC.




It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Community Concierge

@nctarheel Thank you for taking the time to ask! AARP has no owners as it is a nonprofit organization. 

0 Kudos

AARP is a non-profit, but while they deny they have no affiliation with UnitedHealthCare, they carry no ads for other insurers. All of their publications urge members to join United Healthcare. United HealthCare has gone to pot. They used to have great customer service. Now that they have gone offshore half the customer service employees don't speak English well, are poorly trained and the voice transmissions are spotty and garbled. If you ask to speak to a manager, they hang up on you or put you on permanent hold. This is my last year with United Healthcare.

Retired Moderator

Hi @dspindlersr, you can always contact us for help if you have an issue with an AARP provider or benefit. AARP would be glad to help by reaching out to UnitedHealthcare on your behalf to thoroughly investigate. Please call us at 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277) or send me a private message to provide the following information:

  • AARP membership # or home address
  • Type of AARP/UHC Medicare plan you are enrolled in (Advantage, Part D/Rx or Supplement)
  • Member ID # for your AARP/UHC Medicare plan
  • Phone # and email address
  • Description of your issue
  • Please mention that you are requesting an escalation

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate you informing us of your concern. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

0 Kudos
Honored Social Butterfly



As expected, you gave an insufficient answer.


The fact that an organization is non-profit does not mean it has no owners. Many major hospital complexes throughout the United States are operated as non-profits but their policies and actions are conducted by companies such as Atrium or Novant.


It seems that AARP, through establishment of Guidelines and Terms of Service, through which actions are taken on its members, must have owners who have established those policies and conduct those actions.


So, I ask again, who owns AARP?

0 Kudos
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Need to Know

Cyber Week Sale! Join or renew for just $9 per year - $45 billed at the time of a purchase with a 5-year membership.
Join or renew
and get a FREE gift!

AARP Membership Cyber Week Sale

More From AARP