The Awesome Foundation is an international league of philanthropists who pool their resources to make your cities better places to live. The concept couldn't be simpler really; a group of 10 members each contribute $100 a month which they use to provide one lucky recipient with a $1000 grant (no strings attached) to help their project take flight.
It's incredible what a profound influence this vote of confidence and financial helping hand can have on the recipient. The Awesome Foundation is changing lives and cities and the ripples their acts of kindness produce have a wide reach indeed.
Said Toronto's Awesome Foundation member Martin Ryan: "I really like the idea of contributing to other people's creativity -- our world often suppresses creative potential, so anything that gives people permission (and money) to take something from an idea to fruition is really valuable. Since there isn't anywhere for people to get help, the foundation provides a very valuable social function by leveraging financial support for small ideas and flashes of micro-brilliance."
In addition to the $1,000 grant, recipients also have a vote of confidence and the warm enthusiasm of the Awesome Foundation members. Says Ryan: "I think that kind of motivation is hard to put a value on; when 10 people say: "You are awesome, your idea is awesome, we really want you to do it so here's a thousand dollars and any help we can provide," it's a really rewarding feeling and the trust we place in our recipients helps motivate them even more."
The projects the Awesome Foundation support run from significant social change to frivolous moments of joy that make the city a happier place. There are no boundaries or restrictions and they are open to just about anything. "The projects I like most are those that solve significant and complicated social issues," says Ryan. "One of my favorites was the Teen Legal Helpline which is exactly what it sounds like. Here lawyers donate their time to youths who were having legal trouble so that they could get good advice at really critical moments in their life. Another favorite project was our cardboard box fort night. We funded this incredible party where adults built and played in forts made from cardboard boxes. It didn't solve a social problem, but it was a great experience for the residents of the city and provided moment of real joy."
The biggest challenge facing the Awesome Foundation in Canada is getting enough great ideas to choose from. They get about 15 ideas every month, but they would love to have more. Do you have a really great idea that can make the city of Toronto a better place? Then pitch it! Their application process is really accessible, so submit your ideas today - they are incredibly open-minded and there are no barriers to entry and no strings attached.