The Jill Melmed-Buzzeo Award is an award for Philadelphia “girls with grit.” Our mission is to equip ambitious, resilient young women from Philadelphia with the tools and support to advance their professional dreams.
At JMB Award, we:
- Provide financial support to buffer the overwhelming expense of college or other post-secondary school initiatives.
- Match each student with a mentor who can help her navigate academic, professional, and social challenges through a mix of counsel, encouragement, and connections.
- Embed financial empowerment into our program so each student can confidently assume stewardship of her personal finances.
- Surround each student with a strong intergenerational community of women for sharing, advising, networking, and celebrating.
All applicants must:
Be nominated by their school principal or the head of a community-based program. Teachers, counselors, and related staff may recommend nominees to their principal or leader (read more about the nomination process)
Be a junior or senior at a public (district or charter), private, independent, or parochial high school located in Philadelphia
Identify as female
Demonstrate persistence, resilience, ambition, and involvement in family, school, or community activities
Agree to attend orientation and group training, commit to their mentoring relationship, and serve on the following year’s recipient selection committee
Preference is given to first-generation students and students with significant financial need. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is recommended but not required. We recognize that life circumstances can affect student achievement.
Recipients benefit from financial support, mentoring guidance, and intergenerational events and trainings. We select up to two students each year as recipients. On occasion, we also select an honorable mention recipient. This recipient receives the travel stipend, mentoring guidance, and additional support outlined below.
Recipients receive $2,000 for education-related activities and events or to support other post-secondary school plans. They also receive a $300 travel stipend.
Examples of activities and events:
- School fees, tuition, room and board, and books
- Summer programs for service or learning purposes
- Professional development training and programs
Examples of stipend use:
- Campus visits
- Participation in enrichment opportunities
- Passport fees for program-related travel
- Home visits
We believe mentoring is the foundation of our award. We pair each recipient with a mentor who can help with:
- Preparing for and applying to college
- Navigating the college decision-making process
- Transitioning to and thriving in college
- Managing time, money, and relationships on campus
- Writing and building a career résumé
Our award provides a "high-touch" experience tailored to each recipient. Each recipient is expected to commit to:
A foundation meeting with her mentor to identify goals and needs, determine how to allocate the financial award and travel stipend, and sketch out a plan for keeping in touch
Regular in-person and virtual mentor meetings to discuss progress and troubleshoot any challenges
Attending our mentee orientation, summer retreat, winter dinner, and other group outings scheduled during school breaks
Recipients can also take advantage of:
- Customized, one-on-one ACT or SAT tutoring provided by our partners at TEACH (available to recipients who are juniors when nominated)
Our financial empowerment curriculum provides an introduction to sound financial management principles. Our summer retreat includes finance-related sessions of broad interest, including budgeting, credit card management, and student loan debt. On top of this, each recipient meets at least once for one-on-one financial empowerment meetings with our financial cheerleader to review financial goals and design a plan to meet them.
THE JMB AWARD COMMUNITY
Jill Melmed-Buzzeo Award recipients become part of a growing community of “girls with grit.” Incoming recipients benefit from a peer sisterhood of former recipients who provide pragmatic and empathetic advice and an "elders" community who opens doors to institutions, organizations, and industries. Together, we fulfill one of Jill’s lessons—that of forming a personal board of directors to turn to for guidance, connections, and critical support coupled with frank feedback.
Photo by Conrad Benner / Streets Dept