Tikkun Olam Awards
Helen Diller Family Foundation
2021 marked Spitfire’s second year working with the Helen Diller Family Foundation’s Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, which annually recognizes 15 self-identified Jewish young adults ages 13-19 nationwide for their work living Jewish social justice values (tikkun olam means to repair the world). Each awardee receives $36,000 to further their work or education. Spitfire was charged with securing media attention for the awardees, particularly in their local communities, and to do this, Spitfire successfully focused on hyper-local “human interest” stories of young adults being leaders in their communities to address societal problems, earning widespread coverage in local and national outlets.
To accomplish this goal, Spitfire worked with the Foundation to assemble a news release highlighting the Tikkun Olam Awards program and the remarkable work of each awardee, from addressing challenges in K-12 education amid distance learning, or lack of infrastructure to support immune-deficient community members unable to access medication and groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spitfire then assembled a media list specifically tailored to each awardee; for example, with Kelly Danielpour, a Los Angeles-based awardee who founded VaxTeen focused on educating teens regarding the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, Spitfire focused on Los Angeles-based outlets like KCRW’s Greater LA, the Los Angeles Times, and KTLA5; Jewish outlets like The Jewish Journal; and health-focused outlets like California Healthline and Vox’s The Weeds podcast.
Spitfire then pitched the news release and conducted follow-up pitching with very specifically tailored pitch notes; for example, focusing on health for health publications, and focusing on community impact for local outlets. This resulted in a widespread swath of coverage for awardees. Examples of hyper-local TV and print hits Spitfire secured for different awardees include Bay News 9 (Tampa Bay), LEX 18 (Lexington, Kentucky), L.A. Parent magazine (Los Angeles, CA) Chicago Tribune, and Fox 32 Chicago (Chicago, IL), and Jewish Community Voice (northern New Jersey). Spitfire helped springboard these hits into broader national coverage such as this piece in Insider, this piece in The New York Times and bookings at Good Morning America, and Los Angeles’ NPR affiliate KCRW on its popular “Greater LA” program.