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Beyond Scholarships for College: Tikkun Olam Awardees Practicing Philanthropy

Many Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recipients use their $36,000 Awards to support the cost of college. Each teen is asked to thoughtfully consider the wide variety of ways to practice tikkun olam and allocate the Award as they prefer, by giving to various charities, nonprofits, and to their own organizations. 

Teens Thoughtfully Choose How and Why They Give

Here is a peek into the way three recipients allocated their Awards as philanthropy and as scholarships for college. Keep reading to learn how they thoughtfully chose to give the way they do:

Ethan Asher 2019 Awardee

Ethan made a donation to his synagogue, Temple Beth Tikvah, and his Jewish summer camp, Camp Barney Medintz. He is saving the remaining amount for the future.

“After winning the Award I sat down with my parents to talk about where to give back to, and outlined a couple of factors. I wanted to give somewhere local, where the money would stay in my community, I wanted to give to organizations that worked in the Jewish community specifically, and I wanted to give to people who I felt had helped shape me as a person throughout my life. I eventually landed on my synagogue, Temple Beth Tikvah, and my childhood summer camp, Camp Barney Medintz. My synagogue has always provided a supportive and loving community for me and allowed me to thrive, so it was important for me to give back there. Additionally, I felt as though the Jewish summer camp experience has really given me the confidence and independence required to do what I do, and I wanted to help ensure that everyone can have that experience.”

Beatriz De Oliveira 2019 Awardee

Beatriz made a donation to Books for a Change, her leadership project, and to Planned Parenthood.   She is saving the remaining amount for the future.

“I chose to donate to Planned Parenthood out of the spirit of tikkun olam. When I found out that I had been selected as a recipient for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, it was around the same time that many states, including Georgia and Alabama, began to sign into law stringent abortion laws. I wanted to use some of the money I had received to go toward an organization that supports women throughout the United States during a time in which our rights were being restricted by the same state governments that had sworn to protect us. Planned Parenthood works to repair the world every day, and I hope my donation worked to do just that.

“I chose to donate to my organization, Books for a Change, to further expand our work throughout San Diego and Brazil. To this date, the money has gone to purchase hundreds of books in Brazil, bookshelves, and boxes. Additionally, it has allowed our clubs in San Diego to buy and build give-and-take libraries that will be placed throughout the city. The money will continue to enable Books for a Change to flourish and will give us the ability to expand our operations further.”

Eli Wachs 2016 Awardee

Eli donated his entire award to his project High School HeroesX

High School HeroesX is a nonprofit I started in high school. It runs incentivized competitions for students to use technology to solve social justice issues in their community. The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award money has helped support us to run challenges working to improve the safety of teen driving (with winning ideas helping to improve the safety of autonomous vehicles code as well as send automated messages while in transit so drivers do not need to use their phones), an environmental challenge, and an education challenge.”

Other Ways to Use the Awards

Many Awards recipients find creative ways to apply the Award towards their education or tikkun olam work. Some teens use the Award for tuition for a year abroad or an educational gap year program. The Awards go well beyond scholarships for college. They are used to fuel more social change, and to help awardees experience the world and refuel as they continue to practice tikkun olam in college and throughout their lives.

Find Out More About The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards are for Jewish teens age 13-19 who have a key leadership role at an organization or program centered around repairing the world. Every year since 2007, the Helen Diller Family Foundation has awarded $36,000 each to up to 15 Jewish teens who are making the world a better place. Check out past recipients and their inspiring work here.