The Helen Diller Family Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, a program that recognizes up to 15 Jewish teens annually with $36,000 each for exceptional leadership and impact in volunteer projects that make the world a better place. Up to five teens from California and ten from other communities across the United States will be acknowledged for their philanthropic efforts. Anyone interested in nominating a teen, or any teen who is interested in self-nominating, should visit www.dillerteenawards.org to begin the nomination process. The deadline for nominations is December 14, 2014.
Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller created the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards in 2007 as a way to recognize the next generation of socially committed leaders whose dedication to volunteerism exemplifies the spirit of tikkun olam, a central Jewish precept meaning to repair the world. The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have since granted a total of nearly $2 million to 55 Jewish teens from across the nation.
A special documentary-style video, now available at www.dillerteenawards.org, brings to life the accomplishments, creativity, and passion of the 2014 recipients, who hail from California, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Illinois. The video aims to inspire people to reflect on the humanitarian efforts of young leaders in their own communities.
Nominations for the 2015 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards present an opportunity for educators, civic leaders, and teen mentors in communities from Palo Alto to Poughkeepsie to acknowledge young Jewish teens whose thoughtful approach to making a difference is creating meaningful change, whether locally, nationally, or globally. Projects with deep impact on a few individuals can be recognized alongside projects with broad impact, as can be seen at the Awards program website.
Past recipients of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have made their mark through projects that champion a wide range of causes including: building soccer fields and water wells to bring people together in war-torn regions of the world, donating textbooks and school supplies to financially strapped schools in California and around the globe, collecting and distributing shoes to homeless children so they can participate in life outside their shelters, raising awareness and changing attitudes about bullying and autism through peer-to-peer programs, creating a vital community garden with myriad benefits for the community, to name just a few. Awardees have also been recognized by some of the world’s foremost institutions and leaders, including the United Nations Foundation, the White House, and former president Bill Clinton.
The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards is one of a number of projects funded by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, to develop leadership in teens and enhance Jewish education. Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller believes that charitable giving is a fundamental part of living a full and accountable life. Now in its 14th year of giving, the Foundation has granted more than $220 million to support education, the arts, medical research and development, leadership training programs for teens, and many other charitable endeavors.
“The Foundation believes in the importance of shining a spotlight on exemplary Jewish teens to build future generations of strong Jewish leaders,” said Helen Diller, President of the sponsoring foundation. “It is our hope that the Awards will not only validate the social efforts of a generation of Jewish teens but empower them to continue on their philanthropic journeys to repair the world.”
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and their network of 153 Jewish Federations across North America continues to partner with the Helen Diller Family Foundation to inspire and encourage Jewish teen volunteer service nationwide.
“The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards truly help our nation’s brightest young Jewish leaders transform their philanthropic visions into lasting action that embodies the spirit of repairing the world,” said Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of JFNA. “We’re honored to once more support the Helen Diller Family Foundation and its commitment to recognizing and empowering teens whose impact is making a big difference.”
QUALIFICATIONS FOR NOMINATION:
· Teens may be nominated by any community member who knows the value of their project — except a family member— or may self-nominate.
· Each candidate must be a U.S. resident aged 13-19 years old at the time of nomination, and must self-identify as Jewish.
· Community service projects may benefit the general or Jewish community, with impact locally, nationally, or world-wide.
· Teens’ work must be as volunteers—without compensation for their services.
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