Awesome Foundation arrives in Toronto, immediately deemed awesome
It’s great to be awesome, but it’s awesome to be awesome when people throw money at you to help you propagate your own awesomeness. That’s the general idea behind the Awesome Foundation of Arts and Sciences, which recently opened its virtual doors in Toronto. Described by one of the project’s trustees as “a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance,” the Awesomeness Foundation gives $1,000 grants for the creation of projects that improve their city, make it more fun, prove a point, solve a problem, or are just fabulously, intangibly awesome. The Foundation claims no ownership over the projects it sponsors: it’s just a cool thousand bucks in exchange for awesomeness—no strings attached.
The project was born in Boston in 2009, when Harvard research associate Tim Hwang decided the world needed some smaller-scale MacArthur Genius–style grants, and took up the challenge himself. He recruited a flock of trustees and got to work giving out cash to creative types with ideas ready to go but lacking funding. Since then, the awesomeness has spread, and there are now chapters of the foundation in cities around the world, including Berlin, Los Angeles, Melbourne, San Francisco and, yes, Ottawa.
The money is provided by the trustees themselves, and so far funds have financed projects ranging from public artwork to mobile applications to science experiments. Some standouts from other cities so far include a giant guitar, a database of hip hop lyrics, a farmers’ market, a diaper bank and a human-sized transformer robot.
The Toronto chapter lists 10 trustees, including a business development consultant, a physicist, a Fulbright scholar, a curator and an OCAD grad student. It’s a motley crew that has yet to select its first project, so if you’ve got an idea that needs a mini-cash injection, there’s still time to get an application in (the deadline is February 15). Just think: there’s never been a better time to get that pedal-powered burrito-making machine off the ground.