Getting a Grand for an Awesome Project

What if you want to do a small-scale project in the community and you need some money to make it happen?

You could take 15 minutes (really, the application is very brief) to apply for a grant from the Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, which gives out $1000 every month!

The foundation has chapters all over the world! Each chapter usually has 10 members who contribute $100 each month to bring the grand total to (drum roll….) $1000. So that means in a calendar year, there are TWELVE grants of $1000 being given out! How…can you guess what’s coming….awesome is that?

Awesome Seattle was started by Nathaniel James, who was inspired by Suzanne Tidwell’s colorful tree sweaters on the towering trees in Pioneer Square.

Photo by Nathaniel James, 2011

He wrote in a blog post: [Suzanne] told me that winning traditional arts project grants can be tricky. “Foundations won’t often fund your project until it’s nearly completed,” making the start-up process challenging, especially for new artists like herself. A little recognition and a $1,000 grant for supplies could be a very meaningful first step for a new project….I want to spend more of my days inspired. And, if I’m lucky, I want to inspire more people to spend more of their days inspired. Inspired by people like Suzanne, by more color for trees, by new friends and new ideas.

I chatted with a member from the Seattle chapter, Malory Graham, former Executive Director of Reel Grrls and who is now making her own films and running an Aikido martial arts studio.

IP: What inspired you to become a member?

MG: I have been involved in nonprofits and philanthropy for the last 30 years of my life. The Awesome Foundation seemed like a fresh approach. It didn’t seem cumbersome, and it seemed like a fun way to engage with community projects.

IP: What do you personally get out of doing this?

MG: It is wonderful and inspiring to learn about very small scale, quirky arts projects that can be accomplished easily.

IP: What is your favorite project that was funded?

MG: The first project we funded which I loved was offering free sandwiches for anyone downtown in return for them telling a personal story. The stories were later collected into a book. (Check out the Seattle chapter blog at the December 6 and October 25 entries, and you will find a description of this project and a video.)

IP: How do you all decide which awesome projects to fund?

MG: We usually have a group discussion and the projects that generally do well are ones that seem easy to achieve and are a little bit unusual.  Decisions are easy to make, the only problem is wanting to fund more than one project!

IP: How can people participate if it is financially not feasible?

MG: The Awesome Foundation is still looking for trustees and people don’t have to commit to a full year of giving. You can be a guest trustee. This is less firm of a commitment but it is a fun way to learn about the group and its projects.


Hey, it’s not much money, but what a great opportunity for individuals to team up with a few others and do an inspiring project that benefits the community. Check out the  “Awesome Indicators” to get a sense of what makes a project awesome. Some cool examples of projects:

Random Swings of Joy
Art Barge
If you were to apply for $1000, what would your awesome project be?

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2 Responses to Getting a Grand for an Awesome Project

  1. Consuelo says:

    So glad you wrote about this! I love this whole idea!!

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