Awesome Foundation is a fast-growing worldwide community which is aimed to forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe. They are looking for people with interesting ideas in different spheres and provide them with funding.

Over the past two decades, the Internet has become a place where a lot of extraordinary ideas can be realized. It is obvious that this increasingly global “network of networks” has enabled global e-commerce, instantaneous communication and much more. For instance, in 2009 the Internet became a platform for the distribution of awesomeness through the fellowships awarded by the Awesome Foundation.

Everything about this community is clear and simple as it is said on the organization’s FAQs page: $1000 fellowships, granted with no strings attached to the “micro-trustees” of a project in a given chapter. Winners are chosen by consensus. The funds come from the micro-trustees themselves, with no strings attached and claim no ownership over the projects which are supported. They do not wish for the funds to be repaid.

The community is organized very loosely, there are a lot of chapters, which operate independently, and almost none of them are formally registered as organizations. The most of them are geographic, but a few are organized along thematic lines. Only a small community of volunteers takes care of the global shared infrastructure.

Awesome Foundation chapters have given out a wide spectrum of grants, including towards the creation of public artwork, mobile applications or scientific experiments. Every chapter interprets “awesome” in a way it likes. It can include initiatives in a wide range of areas including arts, technology, community development, and etc. These projects can be novel or experimental, and evoke surprise and delight, awesome sometimes challenges and often inspires.

The first ever Awesome Foundation’s person granted was Hansy Better, an architect that works out of Boston, whose idea was to make an enormous hammock in a park for 10-20 people to hang out in all at once. The community originally planned for the whole thing to be done and up in a month. Although, it took a year to plan everything, negotiate with the city and get the word out. People’s general reaction was to hang out and socialize. Many of them asked: “why don’t people do more of this stuff?” So Awesome Foundation is here to make such things happen.

Tim Hwang, who created the concept in Boston in 2009 not long after graduating from Harvard University, says: “It really started as a joke. I wondered what would happen if there was a group with the mandate to fund projects that ‘forwarded the interest of awesomeness in the universe’ and people could just pitch ideas.” It started by a group of students and friends at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and it wasn’t expected to spread all over the world. Actually, it was planned to be a Boston-based project which faced the lack of support for turning random flashes of half-baked greatness that pop up all the time into a reality. The Internet helped the project to become a well-known thing as it’s an infrastructure for doing exactly that — word got around about what they were doing. Suddenly there was a wave of like-minded folks that wanted to be a part of it all. Eventually, the Awesome Foundation has really benefited from being so decentralized. As there are a lot of chapters, all sharing the same goal and working on a relatively small economic scale, it makes it easy for anyone to join in and boot up their own group.

What began as a joke has blossomed into something of an international charitable movement, and in 2011 the Institute on Higher Awesome Studies was formed in Boston to further the concept. It is an independent, official nonprofit that will provide a legal infrastructure for partnerships and other projects for potential sponsors and other foundations. IHAS focuses on 4 main activities: Incubating Awesome Foundations; Developing infrastructure; Organizing events and Creative collaborations.

Some might thing that it can’t be that simple. Although, one of the most important things about the Awesome Foundation is that it is easy to apply: you just need to fill the special form and write about your project from your heart. You should explain how it meets the foundation’s standard for awesomeness, tell the organization how you will spend the money and don’t forget to write about yourself – everything that can make the foundation decide that your idea is truly awesome. But don’t forget that every chapter is different, so some types of projects can be generally not supported — “typically ones that are personal and limited in their community impact, and existing efforts that would not see significant incremental benefit from a small grant”.

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