Welcome to season 3, episode 8 of the Today is the Day Changemakers Podcast.
This week my guest is the kindhearted, public- spirited, Meredith Lee. Meredith is the Program Director for the Russ Berrie Making a Difference award since 2017. The making a difference award is the signature program of the Russ Berrie Foundation and recognizes changemakers who are creating positive impact in New Jersey communities. The award is hosted by Ramapo College.
Meredith has long since had a passion for philanthropic practices, as she had spent over 20 years working with social service and economic development organizations. Throughout her career, she has consistently asked herself the question “how can we be more welcoming?” and encourages others to do the same. She worked very closely with refugee resettlement, allowing her a unique perspective of economically and situationally disadvantaged individuals. Armed with this experience and a strong charitable drive, Meredith joined the Russ Berrie foundation feeling as if “a lot of things had come together”.
With the power of the Russ Berrie foundation’s generous monetary awards, Meredith is able to give life to impactful projects, recognize great deeds, and change the course of people’s lives. The organization has given more than $3.9 million in cash awards to honorees, choosing 10-12 individuals yearly, with the top prize being $50,000. The requirements to be recognized include living in New Jersey and working to help people within New Jersey. There is no age cutoff, as she has distributed prizes from those of ages 9-90 years old. The accomplishments for which honorees are recognized varies. The core questions Meredith and her fellow board members ask when reviewing nominations are, how did the individual make a difference and how long have they been making a difference? For the lucky few who are chosen, there is an in- person ceremony at Ramapo College on May 5th.
If you wish to send in a nomination next year, the window of opportunity opens on January first and ends February 15th.
Listen in to hear Meredith's answer to what lesson did you learn along the way that you want to share with a young or seasoned Changemaker?
Next week my guest is the incredible Young Changemaker Katie Marra. Katie is a high school senior on a mission to help increase awareness and actions to improve our environment. She is the Editor-in-Chief for her school newspaper, youngest to serve on a board of directors in the community, writes all the Today is the Day Changemakers verbiage to go with the podcast episodes, has been a star student athlete and so much more.
Do you have your ticket to the Changemakers Forum? Interact with changemakers from around the globe on Thursday, March 23, 2023 as they share their expertise on (6) topics that matter and can help you significantly while you are on your personal and professional journey.
Do you have a story to share? If so, reach out to Jodi at email@example.com.
Jodi is also the CEO and co-founder of the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation. To learn more visit: www.applaudourkids.org, Facebook, Instagram
Sign-up for our mailing list, schedule a conversation with Jodi or ask a Changemaker a question: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great week everyone!