By Fran Melmed
What’s your jawn? For Monique*, it’s the underfunding of Philly schools. For Sofia*, it’s the loss of a friend to gun violence. And for Alanna* it’s the fact that some of her friends can’t even vote or apply for financial aid because of their immigration status.
We changed the names of our awardees, but not what motivates them. JMB Award is a volunteer-driven nonprofit that’s Philly bred and women-led. Our mission is to equip Philly’s female-identified high school students with the tools — financial support, mentoring and coaching — to advance their professional dreams.
This election is about what dashes dreams. The lack of social justice and equity. The need for immigration reform and climate innovations. Equality and choice at risk. I don’t think we need to go on. We all know there’s a lot on the line this election.
That’s why I’m so excited we’re fundraising for #VoteThatJawn and the amazing and collaborative work they’re doing in our fine, gritty city! We also believe young adults in Philly have the knowledge, the strength, the conviction, and the power to make the world into the one they want.
When we had this idea to raise funds for #VoteThatJawn’s get-out-the-vote efforts, we reached out to local artist Molly Egan, who worked with us to create a rainbow coalition of girls with grit to help us celebrate our 5th birthday. You’ll see her work on banners along Market Street and underfoot as you wait six feet apart outside of some stores (Rona, sigh. Are we done yet?!).
Molly helped us create special #Vote2020 illustrations we put on stickers and a tee. All profits on the sale of these items will go straight to #VoteThatJawn. We’re a nonprofit, so money is tight, as you’d imagine. (This means there’s a limited amount of these items to grab!) But we feel investing in our fellow nonprofits and in youth voice and youth power matters.
We hope you feel our mood too, and vote! We also hope you buy these items and share our fundraiser. That way first-time voters will see us stand behind and with them as they #VoteThatJawn!
JMB Award is a nonprofit organization founded in Philly in 2015. Their program offers direct financial support, mentoring, financial empowerment coaching, and professional development to awardees. Eligible students can be nominated between January and March by principals, teachers and counselors, and community leaders. Find out more on our website (jmbaward.com) or on Instagram and Facebook (@jmbaward).
*Names changed to protect privacy