The Compton Chess Club is in check. A check for a thousand bucks, to be precise. The Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation has awarded Compton Chess Club its August grant. Founded by the Inner-City Mining Company, a mentoring organization that focusses on African-American inner-city males, the Compton Chess Club brings the ancient game to a whole new audience of young minds. But the club does more than just teach kids the rules. As the founders put it, “The game is an excellent tool to help formulate a strategic mindset. It forces you to be aware of your actions and those of your opponent. You learn about sacrifice and what needs to be valued.” You can read more about the organization’s mentoring efforts at innercitymining.com. Congratulations to ICMC and the awesome Compton Chess Club for being our August grant recipients! We here at LA Awesome are just happy to help, even if we don’t know a bishop’s pawn from a Sicilian Defense.
Last month, the Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation invited three grant applicants to pitch their ideas, “Shark Tank”-style, to a panel of billionaires. Okay, so they were fake billionaires, and the whole thing was part of a comedy show, but it did not lack for awesomeness. The Awesome Tank Show, presented at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood, gave the people behind three diverse projects an opportunity to present their ideas in front of a live audience. The show was hosted by LA trustees Matt Walsh and Scot Armstrong, and featured some of the theater’s funniest improvisers portraying notable billionaires Richard Branson, Mikhail Prokhorov, and the gossipy founders of the “Home Shopperficial Network.” After peppering the presenters with ridiculous questions, the judges agreed to award a thousand dollars to all three applicants! Grants were provided to Story Pirates, which teaches writing and literacy through improvised musical comedy; Trash Club, a grassroots community cleanliness organization; and Libro Libre, which provides books free of charge to inmates at California state prisons. Congratulations to the winners, and special thanks to the UCB Theater and everyone who came out to see the show. The LA chapter hopes to put on more… read more →
In November, Awesome Seattle granted $1000 to Sand Toys for Seattle, a project aimed to equip sandboxes throughout Seattle’s neighborhood parks with sand toys for children to use and play with. In the past several months, our grantee Karen West has purchased 836 toys…all while using only about a quarter of the funding! The toys have been distributed to parks throughout the greater Seattle area, and it’s wonderful to see kids swarming to previously neglected sandboxes. Karen has also let us know that she’s seen a domino effect in the parks – the toys have inspired parents and caregivers to also bring and leave their children’s toys in the sandbox for communal use. Karen’s goal is to purchase and distribute three or four thousand toys total, and we at Awesome Seattle are so excited to be able to help her in reaching her goal!
Jerry D. Holland Middle School in the city of Baldwin Park graciously accepts one of our biggest donations toward a pinewood derby program for the school. The pinewood derby program is designed for interested students in the fields of STEM and helps them apply knowledge from their core classes into something tangible for real life application. The funding will go toward our fall inaugural race with the purchase of an electric timer and 500 cars. This funding is designed to be a start-up, and the pinewood derby program will be a sustainable program with students and local businesses maintaining the event for the next 10 years. For individuals who do not know what a pinewood derby is — students will receive a basic grab bag of parts and will be instructed to build the fastest moving object that will roll down a 32-foot ramp. The hope of this program is to get students interested in STEM fields and introduce a possible future career pathway for middle school students.