Attention Female Social Entrepreneurs, Win $2,000 for Your Ideas!

Posted by on December 4, 2009 in Entrepreneurship, Featured, Funding

Gladys Marinelli Coccia Awards

Youth Service America recently launched the first annual Gladys Marinelli Coccia Awards to recognize two young female social entrepreneurs, ages 14 to 17, whose initiatives serve the common good. The awards are created in memory of Gladys Coccia, who began her entrepreneurial career when she was a young girl in West Virginia and later became a very successful businesswoman in Washington, DC. Nominations from across the country are welcome; special consideration will be given to nominees from West Virginia and metropolitan Washington, DC. Self-nominations are accepted. The deadline to submit an online nomination is January 15, 2010.

About Mrs. Coccia

The award program is created in honor of Mrs. Gladys Marinelli Coccia – a business woman and entrepreneur since she was 15 years old until she passed away in 2007, at the age of 93. The grandmother of YSA Board Member Brian Murrow, Gladys grew up in southern West Virginia and moved to the Washington DC area in 1961 where she was well-known in the Italian American business community as the owner and operator of Marinelli’s Delicatessen, which she established in 1962 and managed for the subsequent 30 years.


Social entrepreneurs apply business practices to achieve positive social change and measure their success through their social impact. They find innovative and sustainable ways to address pressing issues. Ambitious and persistent, they grapple with important causes and offer new alternatives that enhance the community. Social entrepreneurs change the system, spread solutions, and persuade others to change their actions. With a sound application of business principles, social entrepreneurs have a sustainable impact on their community: their influence contributes to a healthy, productive, meaningful life for others, both present and future.

Girls who meet the following criteria are eligible for the award:

  • Between the ages of 14 and 17 on January 1, 2010.
  • Located in the United States. (Special consideration will be given to nominees located in West Virginia and Metro Washington DC.)
  • Have her own social enterprise.
  • Be supported by contributions of at least $1000 (cash and/or in-kind).
  • Have a business plan, including an itemized budget.


  • $2000 for the social enterprise
  • Travel, lodging, and and registration to National Service-Learning Conference in San Jose, CA – March 24-27, 2010.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for YSA’s initiatives
  • Invitation to serve on the executive board of Girls Helping Girls
  • Access to YSA’s resources to support and expand social enterprise

How do I Nominate?

  1. Read this introduction carefully.
  2. Take the eligibility quiz.
  3. If the nominee is eligible, you will access the nomination form.
  4. Gather the supporting materials and complete the nomination, asking for assistance from YSA staff as needed.
  5. Submit completed nomination by Friday, January 15, 2010.


Nomination deadline: January 15, 2010
Winners announced: February 19, 2010
Awards presented at National Service-Learning Conference: March 24-27, 2010


Erik is a perpetually curious social innovator. As a serial entrepreneur, Erik knows a thing or two about change. As a co-founder of SocialEarth, Erik hopes to channel his passion for social advocacy into an innovative venue of social awareness for others.

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