Peter Chortek Leadership Award 2019 Recipients Announced

by Jewish Community Foundation May 1, 2019


jcf-awardThe Peter Chortek Leadership Award (PCLA), facilitated annually by the Jewish Community Foundation, was recently presented to four San Diego high school students. The 2019 awards went to Aurora de Tagyos, Ilan and Max Matkovski, and Talia Schauder for demonstrating teen excellence in community service and leadership.

The Peter Chortek Leadership Award was established in 2011 by the Chortek Family to honor the late Peter Chortek z”l. Peter was not religious, but was fiercely proud of being Jewish, and believed quality Jewish education would help insure a vibrant Jewish future. The Peter Chortek Leadership Award is supported by the Peter Chortek Youth Philanthropy Leadership Fund held at the Jewish Community Foundation, established by Peter z”l and Elaine Chortek.

The Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego (JCF) is honored to facilitate this award, encouraging Jewish communal involvement by rewarding Jewish teens who are practicing tikkun olam, repairing the world. PCLA recipients receive a $5,400 stipend, $540 to establish a Donor Advised Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, and a professional video made about their project. Past videos can be viewed at These awards are presented annually at a special dinner for families, friends, mentors, and community leaders. All recipients have made a difference in our community through their innovative leadership and passion, inspiring their peers to get involved in service projects or social justice programs.

Aurora de Tagyos, a Senior attending La Jolla High School, created Backyard Bounty, a program that redirects surplus home-grown produce to feed the food insecure. Backyard Bounty has donated over 500 pounds of produce to the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry. Aurora’s mission is to educate the community about the challenges food insecurity and food waste pose to society and has recruited donors and involved volunteers in the process.

Ilan and Max Matkovski are Seniors at West Hills High School and are the Co-Founders and Co-Presidents of the West Hills High School Homeless and Hunger Awareness Club. These eager twins created this club as Freshmen and today it has over 40 active members. They hold weekly meetings to educate themselves and others about San Diego’s poverty epidemic and plan supply drives for those in need.

Talia Schauder, a Junior at Poway High School, created Talia’s Tolerance Tour as a way to share her grandfather’s Holocaust survival story. Talia realized that there was a need to educate teenagers in middle and high schools about the Holocaust–teen to teen. Her project started as a presentation to a school that was having issues with anti-Semitism and has grown to diverse audiences of teens and adults county-wide.

Applications for the 2020 Peter Chortek Leadership Award will be available in September 2019 and will be due in January 2020. Now is the time for students to start thinking about how they can meet the application criteria, which can be found at We invite everyone to participate in this remarkable opportunity.


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