Chapters in attendance (2012)
This is a summary from the introductions of all the chapters at the summit!
There are 14 members (including the dean).
Boston has almost 20 trustees now, but didn't know how many until a year or two in. The chapter assumed 10, but actually had 11 or 12 (they are still not sure).
Brandon heard about the Awesome Foundation on NPR and called someone who'd applied nine months before the chapter existed. He wanted to do photo-graffiti by installing photography random places.
Around since April 2011 - Lori heard a CBC interview with the Toronto chapter, and immediately did an illegal U-Turn and registered the domain and blog. There are 15 trustees. A favorite grant so far was remote art so you could start art online and someone else could finish.
There are five Chicago trustees at the Summit! 20% of funding so far has been to puppet themed projects. Noteworthy grants include little free libraries (small book exchanges), art hunt (hiding art in the city), open source scanning electron microscope (failed so far), QR codes linking to poetry, and a snow shoveling project which stopped snow this winter.
Barbara is the dean of AF Connecticut. It started in January this year (her husband heard it on NPR). Awesome Connecticut is all couples. They've given five grants so far - this months grant is a town wide scavenger hunt in New Haven, CT. It's to bring community together and teach history/culture of New Haven. Also did a grant between the symphony and the neonatal unit to make a lullaby CD for babies that are in the neonatal unit.
Marshelle overuses Awesome, and is also very gullible. Christina called from "Institute of Higher Awesome Studies" and Marshelle assumed it was a joke. The second time Christina called, she Googled it, and upon realizing it's a real thing was convinced to start a chapter (in January). The chapter started from a Knight News Challenge Grant - so it's focused specifically on journalism, media, and civic engagement projects. They've given five grants so far, most recently "Real People, Real Stories." Also "Strong and Beautiful" stories recorded from a soup kitchen.
They've never met each other in person. They started talking about it in 2010 and got serious last year. They have awarded 10 grants so far. A favorite grant was "randwiches" a random ingrediant sandwich delivery service in NYC. You sign up online, and pick a time, and you can mention allergies. You can't pick something. Comes in a paper bag, and from the Little Red Riding Hood of sandwiches (including the cape!).
Most people know where Halifax is, largely because of the Awesome Foundation. Everyone bailed but Dave! Started on Feb 29 - "On the 29th day, God created Awesome." Halifax has 30 trustees. Every month 10 are off, 10 narrow down the apps to what happens at the event, 10 vote at the event. Favorite grant so far was space bagpipers that followed people around town. Two others are the Halifax ideas market, where they gave out like $2500 to ideas. They wanted to have a giant tug of war across a harbor, but the water police said no. So instead they're going to require the loser to jump in the Harbor. There will be 125 people on each side and they're hoping to get the mayor and other dignitaries (it'll be on Sept 15 at 2:00pm).
Houston's chapter has been around since last August. The Dean can't attend as she's past the flying window in her pregnancy. Our favorite grant was "Hear Our Houston" which was an audio tour from different peoples perspectives of the same place.
"It's rare to be in a room with people as attractive as I am." Kingston is between Toronto and Montreal and has been around since October. Asad got started by pitching crazy ideas and then was invited to be a trustee. Kingston has a lot of unicycles and they gave a grant to @unicyclephil, who wanted to break the 100mi unicycle record. There are 14-15 trustees and 10 chairs, with some shared trustees (as long as each chair brings $100 it's ok). Kingston has had issues trying to define what Awesome means.
Kitchener-Waterloo is about an hour outside of Toronto. Tried to explain what the Awesome Foundation was while crossing the border was difficult (they gt a free car X-Ray!). The chapter has been around for 14-16 months. One of the cool ones was the Guerrilla Gardener - he rides a bike and plants things in public spaces near highways (like a giant smiley face). They are open to discussion about grants that slightly break the laws. The group is 12 trustees, so they give a $200 people choice award to another proposal.
Los Angeles is 12 person chapter that started at the end of 2010. One of the most successful grants so far is a project called the Swings Project - an artist came down and put random swings around LA. He also did this in Bolivia, and found that all of the kids parks had swing structures with no swings so he put up hundreds of real swings. They are interested in supporting cool things in an easy way. Dan is trying to build a TV show of the Awesome Foundation, with celebrities/artists/influencers each giving $1000 three times per episode, and people need to do the projects immediately on TV.
It's not Melbourne - Maldon is about 150km out of Melbourne in rural Victoria and has about 1500 people. It took them 48 hours to get here! They're board directors of a community bank where all the profits go back to the community and part of those profits fund the trustees of Awesome Maldon. The chapter has been going since May. It's an elderly town and they were looking to fund more exciting things than golf/bowling. They funded a local artist and author that have written a book that will be published (targeted at the children in the community) that is whimsical with slight anti-bullying theme. They also funded some people come in to talk about governance.
They are just under a year old, on their fifth grant. Montreal has 11 trustees and is a bilingual chapter - in French it's le foundation formidable. All materials are in both languages, applicants are equal. They're still trying to find a strong identity within the city. They're most interested in hearing about surprises people have had along the way. What elements of Awesome appeal to how people work? Is there one type of person/org applying? Is that good or bad? How do we define Awesome? Are we reaching our higher goals? They also invite everyone to visit Montreal.
There are 7 people standing up! New York has about 8 more trustees. Everyone goes to New York, so tell their chapter when you do! They have been around for about two years now and were founded by someone who met Tim while interning at Harvard. Some of their favorite grants include laser tweezers and a house for two famous iguanas. A recent one was inspired by the number of acres of empty lots in Brooklyn - it allows people to identify events owner by the city to community organize for those lots.
Ottawa has been going about two years and just gave their 24th grant. Ottawa is a government town, so it's conservative, results-based, focused on metrics and reports, etc. (everyone boos). The best thing about the Awesome Foundation is that it's whimsical. The risk factor is high, but you get things you don't expect. It varies between "That's cool." or "I don't get that at all." but either way you're part of it. Yarn bombing a city bus is happening in September - a big bus covered in crocheted pieces.
The chapter was launched in October 2011. Initially they tried to reach outside of the tech community and are now a very diverse chapter. The city of Pittsburgh declared "Awesome Day". The chapter also uses a tiny micro novelty check (which turns out to be a terrible photo op). Grants include restoring public staircases and a puppet photo booth.
The founder took a road trip to Oklahoma City to visit in laws for Christmas and at 5am heard the distant fuzzy signal of NPR talking about the Awesome Foundation. She got to Oklahoma and immediately emailed Tim (sorry in laws!) about starting a chapter. They've given two grants so far, one for scholarships for kids to go to Farm Camp and one for a project called "Free the Billboards" to try to get rid of Billboards in Portland. They're setting up Viewmasters with images people would rather see than Billboards. They are hoping to figure out how to get more proposals for lunchtime dance party, and fewer for "daily maintenance cost".
Luciano and Ana are here to represent. The Rio chapter has 12 trustees with 2 more to come, and others trying to join. Christian and Lee-Sean visited Rio. Once they started they had a huge newspaper coverage, but people misunderstood and applied for wild ideas, not for actual projects. They just funded their very first project last week, called Social Dojo - a concept from software development for role playing games.
The chapter was founded in March 2010 because Jesse talked to Boston about why there weren't women trustees. Trustees at the Summit include Mitch Altman who co-founded noise bridge and is a world traveler, George was a recent grant recipient and is now a trustee, Tim co-founder of AF, Greg recently joined after being a long time fan. There are 10 trustees, but there is a revolving door of trustees. At one point they tried to redesign the entire website on their own (they are psyched about the new website). AF SF has given 12-15 grants so far, including Little Opera, an afternoon program for 4th grade wrote and performed their own opera (about 4 minutes), impromptu natural history walks in urban neighborhoods in San Francisco, scents of San Francisco (they wanted to collect all the scents and make them to oil - they assumed it'd be like burrito, but now it's about wild flowers and taking longer than anticipated). They say that hacker spaces are a good place to draw for trustees/projects - hackerspaces.org lists all of them (a thousand!). A favorite grant is a room full of balloons that light up when you hit them.
Seattle has been going for about a year now. There is a guest trustee program where people join for a month and a "How to be a Trustee" doc to ramp people up. The program works well for converting guest trustees to full trustees. Cool grants include a homeless shelter that works with youth to create safe sex kits that were user-centric designed to be more discreet and the Pop-Up Museum done by a museologist to make a more welcoming museum that wasn't as focused on the artifacts in it as the people visiting it. Seattle guest trustee Willow wants to put together a travel chapter.
St. Petersburg Florida, not Russia. The chapter started recently and they want to put together an Internet chapter.
Travis was a peace corps volunteer who started the first TedX event in Mongolia. He started Awesome Mongolia to try to start chapters all over. They didn't think Awesome could be real. The chapter has two peace corps volunteers and eight Mongolians. Their first grant was a dental hygiene project. There isn't a word for Awesome in Mongolia. They're connected to prime minister/president and trying to explain and get support.
Tampa Bay has a twin cities thing with Tampa/St. Petersburg. Now they're a virus - also Awesome Tampa Bay Music (bands going on tour) and Awesome Tampa Bay Youth (people under 18). Hampton was doing a micro arts funding program for underground art - they didn't have any money, so created the World's Largest Dream Machine and took a motor from a cement mixer for $500. "Awesome - like the government's definition of porn - you know it when you see it." Hampton recently acquired the largest painting in the state of Florida, and is going to turn it into a slip n slide. Next summer at a place in Florida they're doing a 50th anniversary show of people in the water pretending to be mermaids. They are looking at funding underwater contemporary art performance.
AF Toronto has awesome shirts. They got started in February 2011 and have given 18 grants. There are 17 trustees. The chapter was really inspired by the swings project. For the first grant there were 250+ apps, but now applications are dwindling, and the quality isn't awesome enough. They've funded a kissing map of Toronto, writing love letters on postcards for people in Toronto, the wall of tics (for individuals with Tourette syndrome), flamethrowers, cardboard forts, etc. One month they used the $1000 to do a project themselves, and wanted to do swings - but then they did a bad thing and asked the lawyer about the liabilities. They also really liked Connect the T dots - paint giant white dots on the top of buildings so when you looked from above there would be a picture. They put in a bid for Awesome Summit 2013!
The DC chapter has been running since Nov 2010. Their first grant was out of the Fab Lab - there was a group moving in a mobile lab, but they helped them move to a physical space. In their first month they got an application from the Smithsonian to fund a new position at the museum. They had a picnic with a jazz festival was held in a vacant lot in North DC that was known for drugs/violence and turned it into a concert every Saturday night. Now the festival is in its second year and they get emails about the neighborhood being transformed and messages like "my baby learned to clap at the event". They are going to turn an alley in DC into the scene from Indiana Jones with someone else inside the boulder trying to catch you. They launched with a big party called the Awesome Science Fair and invited about 3,000 people. Everyone had a booth and people could walk around and talk to projects and put tokens into a bucket. Everyone bought a $20 ticket and got tokens worth $1, but people ran out and started putting in cash. Other projects include a group that made an irrigation system and got funding from an actual angel investor. They are having a new party that will be "The Price is Awesome" with people doing live pitching with audience enabled granting.