2013 is a special year for us as it marks Jumpstart's 20th Anniversary. In celebration of this occasion we’ve established the first-ever Jumpstart Awards. Over the course of the year we pored over hundreds of qualified candidates, finally selecting four exemplary individuals: a supporter, a legislative champion, a Corps member, and an alumnus.
Each of these awards is based on Jumpstart’s core values – kindness, determination, learning, and connection. Award winners were selected by judging panels composed of Jumpstart staff, alumni, Corps members, board members, and supporters. We thank them for their leadership and expertise in selecting this year’s winners.
This is the first blog post in a four part series highlighting Jumpstart’s 20th Anniversary Award recipients.
Jumpstart would not exist without the support of generous individuals who are passionate about our mission. The “Kindness” Award was created to honor an outstanding Jumpstart supporter who has been kind to the organization over the years by championing Jumpstart and the children we serve.
We present the “Kindness” Award to Jennifer Marrus, who has been a key member of the Jumpstart family for many years. She is a member of Jumpstart's National Board of Directors, a Tri-State Advisory Board founding member and former Chair, a fundraiser, a Scribbles to Novels co-chair, and overall a tried and true Jumpstart ambassador. We heard from so many people who shared their perspectives on Jennifer's true kindness, and we wanted to share a few highlights.
“Jen has been one of Jumpstart’s earliest and most stalwart supporters. She first joined the Jumpstart New York advisory board before we even opened an office. In our early days, she was as hands-on as you can get, even coming into the office and manning the fax machine when we were overwhelmed by requests from prospective Corps members or planning events. Jen has arguably gotten more people involved with Jumpstart than any other person in the organization’s history. I can imagine no one more deserving of this honor.” – David Carmel, Jumpstart Founder and National Board of Directors Member
“There are many adjectives that describe Jennifer Marrus—energetic, loving, giving, selfless, organized beyond belief, a great listener, thoughtful, a devoted mother, wife, friend, and most of all KIND. Jen redefines the word kind. Her unlimited amount of energy allows her the capacity to enrich the lives of so many.” – Dana Herrman, Jumpstart supporter
“I can think of no person that is more deserving [of the supporter kindness award]. I have been an advisory board member in the New York region for the last decade and I got involved because of Jen. She has been a constant source of inspiration and dedication as she cares so deeply about the mission and success of Jumpstart.” – Alan Riffkin, Tri-State Advisory Board Member
“I had the privilege and honor of working with Jennifer Marrus while serving as Executive Director of Jumpstart's NY/Mid-Atlantic region. Her kindness is demonstrated daily, as she goes above and beyond in providing significant support to the organization—in funding, in garnering new supporters (she's a master at this), and in helping to think strategically about growing the organization. She also demonstrated this as a founding board member, where she emerged as a leader of the small but dedicated group of board members. She's shown endless kindness as she opened her home, her wallet, and her rolodex, and she's given of her time and skills to be an ongoing cultivator of supporters. And all while doing this, she has provided a kind and sincere voice of encouragement and enthusiasm for the people who work alongside her—Corps members, preschool partners, families, other board members, and staff.” – Bridget Beyea, Former Executive Director of Jumpstart’s Tri-State Region
“She has shared the work of Jumpstart with her friends and family with grace, humor, and enthusiasm. Jen is able to talk about Jumpstart's important mission in an accessible and meaningful way, occasionally using her own sweet family as role models and showing all of their passion for Jumpstart. Jen makes her community listen and take action.” – Karen Hershey, Jumpstart supporter
Jen was first introduced to Jumpstart while running a volunteer consulting organization at Harvard, and she led the team that created Jumpstart’s first growth model. Her expertise aligns perfectly with the work that she does for Jumpstart. She has focused on grassroots and peer-to-peer fundraising strategies specifically designed to grow a small non-profit toward long-term sustainability. Jen leverages her vast knowledge and translates it to change.
Jen currently lives in New York City with her husband, Andrew, and two sons, Ryan and Evan. She is an active volunteer at their schools as well, including building a new library at their preschool.
We can’t thank Jen enough for supporting Jumpstart’s progress from the very beginning, there is no one more deserving of this honor.
Stay tuned for our next post, highlighting our Legislative Champion “Determination” Award recipient.