TAHOE/TRUCKEE — The Helen Diller Family Foundation is expanding the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, issuing a national call for nominations to identify Jewish teens whose volunteer service projects demonstrate a determined commitment to make the world a better place. Up to 10 selected teens, five from California and five from other communities across the country, will each be acknowledged for their visionary actions with an award of $36,000, to be used to further their philanthropic work or their education. Deadline for nominations is Jan. 6, 2013.
What started as a simple idea for Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller in 2007 has grown tremendously during the last six years. The Helen Diller Family Foundation has given more than one million dollars to 30 teens to further their vision of tikkun olam — a central precept of Judaism meaning repair of the world.
“It has been a joy to celebrate so many incredible Jewish teens over the past six years, and to support them in their efforts to repair the world,” said Diller, president of the sponsoring foundation. “This opportunity to empower and nurture teens throughout the entire United States is a dream come true, and a simple way to foster the spirit of tikkun olam among our future leaders.”
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and their network of 155 Jewish Federations throughout the country will collaborate with the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, to inspire and encourage Jewish teen volunteer service nationwide.
“We applaud those who demonstrate such dedication to Jewish values and service at a young age,” said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA. “The Helen Diller Family Foundation is known for its commitment to providing enrichment opportunities that truly do change lives. We are delighted to collaborate with them on this innovative program, which will help create a vibrant future for the Jewish People.”
Past recipients of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have gone on to create a nonprofit that helps terminally ill high-schoolers attend their prom, a soccer-focused social media fundraising campaign (praised by David Beckham) that supplies water to third-world communities, and a wide range of projects that support causes such as education, tolerance issues, autism awareness, anti-poverty efforts, environmental responsibility, wildfire safety and others. Recipients have gone on to engage with world leaders, celebrities and internationally-known sports figures, while attracting public and media attention including CNN, The New York Times, National Geographic, MTV and The Today Show.
Now in its 13th year of giving, the Helen Diller Family Foundation has granted more than $200 million to support education, the arts, medical research and development, leadership training programs for teens, and many other charitable endeavors.
Qualifications for nomination
• Teens may be nominated by teachers, community leaders, rabbis, or anyone who knows the value of their volunteer service and commitment except family members. Teens may also nominate themselves.
• 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.
• Teens compensated for their services are not eligible.