Nominator FAQs

What are the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards?

The Awards recognize up to fifteen Jewish teens who are extraordinary leaders in community service with $36,000 each. Awardees are teens who show significant drive and leadership in creating and leading a new initiative – or who have considerably deepened or expanded an existing project. They embody the values of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

What kinds of projects/initiatives does Diller look for?

Projects can have a local, national, or global focus benefiting the Jewish or general community. Applicants can create a new project or contribute to an established initiative if they demonstrate a current, significant leadership role in an existing organization or project. We recommend you view past Award recipients to get an understanding of the types of projects that have been recognized.

Who is eligible to apply for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards?

Applicants must be:

  • 13-19 years old
  • Currently serving in a leadership role on a project/initiative aimed at repairing the world
  • Identify as Jewish
  • Volunteering without any compensation
  • Residents of the United States

Note: Teens who have created and co-led projects with others are welcome to apply individually for the Tikkun Olam Award. In such cases, each applicant will be considered and evaluated separately, and no more than one applicant per project will be chosen as an award recipient.

Note: Teens are not eligible for the Award if they have a sibling who has received a Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award in the preceding five years.

What are the Award evaluation criteria?

To qualify for an Award, applications should:

  • Focus on a single project or initiative led by the applicant
  • Demonstrate that the applicant has made a significant and impactful contribution in a leadership role, either in initial project creation or over time
  • Show the project’s measurable impact
  • Provide a clear articulation of the issue area(s) the project is serving, which can be local or global, serving the community at large or the Jewish community directly

How does Diller decide who receives an Award?

There is an extensive evaluation process with Review and Selection Committees that consist of over 100 volunteers nationwide. Reviewers use an evaluation system that focuses on current, demonstrated leadership, commitment, engagement of others, sustainability, and community service impact over time. Each application is read by multiple evaluators, and their scores determine which applications continue to semifinalist and finalist rounds. The Selection Committee then reviews the finalist applications. Awardees are selected through a committee process, and Awardees will be notified in late May.

What can Award recipients do with the Award?

The $36,000 Award may be used to further the recipient’s philanthropic work or education. Recipients can speak with philanthropic advisors at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, who will explain their financial options.

Does a teen need to be nominated to receive the Award? 

Teens are not required to be nominated to be considered for the Diller Tikkun Olam Award, and each applicant is required to complete and submit an application to be considered. We encourage adult mentors to honor a teen leader through a nomination in order to encourage them to submit their application.

Who can nominate a teen for this Award?

Teachers, rabbis, community leaders, or any individual aware of the value of the teen’s leadership may submit a nomination online August through December. Nominated teens will then be asked to complete a full application.

What happens after I nominate a teen? 

Nominators will receive an email confirming their nomination was submitted successfully. Teens will receive an email letting them know that they were nominated, along with instructions on how to complete the application process. Nominated teens then fill out an application on the website. We recommend that you also let your nominee know you’ve nominated them. It ensures that they are aware in case their email notification gets overlooked.

When do nominations and applications open? 

August of each year.

Is this a scholarship?

This is an Award that can be used to help fund your education but is not specifically a scholarship. Some recipients choose to direct some of the funds toward their project/initiative and some toward their education. Awardees can choose how to allocate the Award.

What do Awardees receive in addition to $36,000?

In addition to receiving a $36,000 Award, recipients travel to San Francisco in August for a retreat and Awards celebration weekend, including up to two guests. In addition, Awardees become part of a national cohort of Jewish teen leaders. As part of the cohort experience, Awardees have the opportunity to connect with one another, receive public relations support for their project from a professional PR firm, receive professional headshots, and are filmed for a video highlighting their tikkun olam project. Awardees also become part of a greater alumni network of other leaders, dating back to the first year of the Awards in 2007.

It sounds competitive. Should I still nominate someone?

Yes. We encourage you to nominate any teen leader you feel may qualify, and we encourage teens to apply and use the application as a tool to consider the elements of their work that are strong as well as their areas for growth. Many teens have said that it is a valuable experience just to be nominated and recognized for their work. Others have also said that the process of filling out an application and articulating their ideas on paper was beneficial and helped them move their project forward. Some teens who ultimately received the Award said they were surprised that they were selected, thinking they wouldn’t receive the Award amongst the other impressive applicants.

When are the Awardees announced?

In June.

The Committee works through a comprehensive multi-stage review process to ensure that each applicant and application receives close care and attention. There are more steps than one might assume, so that each applicant is carefully vetted and thoroughly reviewed.

Can a nominee or applicant apply more than once?

Yes. A nominee/applicant who was not selected in the past may apply again. Teens have received the Award after applying twice or more!

Can co-leaders apply for the Award together?

No. The Award recognizes individual leadership, so teens may not submit one application together. Multiple teens currently working on the same project can apply individually, if they are each eligible. We encourage individuals to focus on their specific leadership contributions. Applicants will be evaluated separately, and for any given project, only one individual leader may receive an award. If multiple teens apply for the same project, they each need to be comfortable with any selection outcome.

Is this a needs-based award? 

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards are merit-based and not based on financial need. No FAFSA or other financial documentation is considered.

Who funds this program?

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards is a program of the Helen Diller Family Foundation.  Jewish values inform the work of the Foundation in an effort to create ripples of good in the world. The Foundation believes that supporting Jewish teens today creates generations of strong Jewish leaders.  In the words of Helen Diller, “It’s never too late, too early, or too often to give back and make the world a better place.”

“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller