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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards?
    The Awards recognize up to fifteen Jewish teens who are outstanding leaders in community service with awards of $36,000 each. We seek teens showing significant initiative and leadership in creating and leading a new initiative – or who have considerably deepened or expanded an existing project — that embodies the values of tikkun olam, repairing the world.
  • Who can apply for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards?
    • Aged 13-19
    • Currently serving in a leadership role on a project/initiative aimed at repairing the world
    • Self-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.

  • I just turned 20, can I still apply?

    Applicants must be aged 13-19 at the time of the application deadline. If you turn 20 after the application deadline, you still meet the requirements.

  • I’m in college now, can I still apply?

    Yes, if you are 13-19. The school grade of an applicant is not relevant. Only the age (13-19) at the time of the application deadline.

  • What happens after I apply?
    Candidates receive an automatic confirmation message upon successful submission of an application. If you do not see your confirmation email, be sure to check your spam filter. Please contact us immediately if you have technical difficulties.
  • What can award recipients do with the Award?
    The $36,000 award may be used to further the recipients’ philanthropic work or education.
  • So, is this a scholarship?
    It’s an award that can be used as a scholarship. We can send funds directly to a university. It can also be used towards philanthropic work. Some recipients choose to direct some of the funds towards their philanthropy and some towards their education. Awardees have the option to choose how to allocate the award.
  • How do you decide who receives and award?
    There is an extensive evaluation process with Review and Selection Committees with about 85 volunteers. Reviewers use an evaluation system that focuses on current, demonstrated leadership, commitment and community service impact. Each application is read by multiple evaluators and their scores determine which applications continue on to semi-finalist and finalist rounds. Finalists are then read and reviewed by the Selection Committee and awardees are selected at a committee meeting led by the Committee Co-Chairs.
  • What kinds of projects/initiatives do you look for?
    Projects may have any focus, from raising money, to hands-on interactions, to larger systemic-change initiatives. 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.
  • What are the Award evaluation criteria?
    • Proven commitment to the value and practice of tikkun olam
    • Current leadership of and dedication to a project over time
    • Effective development and implementation of a project or organization
    • Demonstration of vision and creativity
    • Ability to impact a growing number of individuals and/or engage a growing number of individuals in the project, either as partners, participants or beneficiaries
    • Ability to articulate the history, meaning and significance of the project, its goals, impact and potential to engage others


  • Will you award the start-up of my new project?
    No. The Award focuses on the established and demonstrated leadership of applicants currently working on one specific project. Applicants are not awarded for a concept that has not yet been initiated or is still in its very early stages. Our application asks about the impact your project has and you will need to be able to show what has been accomplished.
  • It sounds competitive. Why apply?
    We encourage teens to apply and use the application as a tool to consider the elements of your work that are strong as well as your areas for growth. Many teens have said that it’s a significant 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. And, some teens who ultimately received the award were surprised that they were selected, thinking that they wouldn’t receive the award amongst the other impressive applicants.
  • When are the awardees announced?

    The application evaluation process is complete by the end of June, when applicants and nominators will be informed of the awardees.

    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.

  • If I don't have a single major project, can I apply for a combination of volunteering efforts?

    While we encourage and applaud teens for being involved in a variety of meaningful tikkun olam and community service initiatives, we award leaders for their current work on a specific project or initiative. Applicants should describe their work on a single project.

  • Can I apply again if I’ve applied in the past?
    Yes. A nominee/applicant who was not selected in the past may apply again. Teens have received the award after applying twice or more!
  • Who funds this program?
    The Helen Diller Family Foundation created the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards in 2007. The family’s primary focus is to support education, science, and arts and they’ve donated and helped fund programs and institutions around the world. They created this specific program to help support and thank Jewish teens leading remarkable tikkun olam work.
  • Can a co-leader (or co-leaders) apply together?
    No. The Award recognizes current, individual leadership, so teens may not submit one application together. Multiple teens working on the same project can apply individually. 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. We have seen one co-leader awarded when both have applied.
  • What happens after I nominate a teen/I am nominated?

    Teens receive an email letting them know that they were nominated along with instructions on how to complete the application process. Teens fill out an application on our website.


    Nominators: we typically recommend that you also let your nominee know that you’ve nominated them. It ensures that they are aware in case their email notification gets accidentally stuck in a spam filter.