From a public hammock, that can hold 15 people, to a cotton candy-shooting cannon, the Awesome Foundation is giving grants to awesome projects around the globe.
With 83 chapters in 18 countries, this community-based organization gives “micro-grants” each month, for various projects, on a no-strings-attached basis. The ideas range from the scientific to the sublime. Because the awards are relatively small, the Foundation can take bigger risks and adapt more easily than larger charities.
“The idea is that it’s so simple that anybody could just get a group of friends together and start a chapter so, we’re just spreading the word,” said Lee-Sean Huang, founder of the group’s New York chapter.
The Awesome Foundation: Investing in the inspirationalFounders of the Awesome Foundation's New York chapter and the chancellor of the Institute on Higher Awesome Studies discuss awesome global projects.
Organizers call themselves “guerrilla philanthropists” who have seen how small ideas can have a big impact. They believe these small ideas are what keep the world moving and think larger charities could ultimately benefit from the group’s “micro-grants” concept.
“We’d also like to see how traditional foundations can look at this Awesome model of smaller grants as ways to learn,” explained Huang. “Are there ways to bring more Awesome Foundation-like kind of grant giving to small projects, which is different from their traditional grant making?”
Mike Walter was joined in our New York studio by two of the founders of the New York chapter of The Awesome Foundation, Jesse Chan-Norris and Lee-Sean Huang. Christina Xu, Chancellor of The Institute on Higher Awesome Studies, also joined the discussion.