Luciano Sother

December 21, 2012

Our community was saddened to hear of the recent passing of our friend Luciano Sother. Luciano was the founder and leader of the amazing Rio de Janeiro chapter, and a tremendous force for awesome in the universe through his many projects and interests. Many of us had the good fortune to meet Luciano during the AweSummit in Cambridge this past summer, which for the first time brought together trustees from around the world to celebrate and share our stories with one another. He was remembered by all who met him for his great sense of humor, his warm friendship, and his commitment to making a difference. We were tremendously lucky to have his presence there. Though the chapters of Awesome Foundation take on many forms around the world, we are united in a core belief: that one can find things that surprise and delight in all corners of life, and that it is important — critical, even — to support and share that delight with others. In our brief time together, Luciano stood out as a rare person who deeply embodied this spirit, and inspired it in others, too. We can’t have wished for a better partner and friend. We’ll… read more →

Awesome NYC December Grant: A 101-year-old Electric Car!

December 18, 2012

One hundred years before the Tesla Roadster or the Nissan Leaf, a company called Baker Electric was making cars entirely powered by electricity. Today, a group of awesome folks in Rhinebeck, NY are bringing a Baker Electric car back to life. This month, the NYC chapter of the Awesome Foundation is proud to announce that our $1000 microgrant will allow a group at the the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome museum to restore a 1911 Baker Electric Automobile to working order. This vehicle is quite a unique piece of early automotive technology, illustrating the little-known history of electric car experimentation before the internal combustion engine dominated the rest of the century. Currently, the Aerodrome’s Baker has been moved out of storage and into the workshop for cleaning and evaluation. Check out the group’s Baker Electric blog for photos and updates on this awesome car’s restoration (and for a video of Jay Leno with his own 1909 Baker Electric)! In the summer, audiences at the Aerodrome can check out air shows and a “Parade of Vintage Vehicles” which will include the Baker Electric Car once it’s been restored. If you are interested in joining the Awesome NYC Trustees to visit the aerodrome this… read more →

Trade School Co-op Ottawa

December 18, 2012

December’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Shirley Manh to support the establishment of a barter school, or “trade” school, in Ottawa. Shirley, whose day job is at a not-for-profit, describes herself as an ordinary person who took an opportunity to do something not so ordinary — she rode and lived off her bicycle for two months. “Afterwards,” she explains, “I spent a year not buying anything brand new and critically re-thought the purchasing decisions I made. That extra-ordinary year taught me a lot about my consumption habits (reuse plastic wrap!), how to make and repair things (toothpaste! shoes!), and the non-monetary value of things I did have (presentation skills). Now,” she says, “I want to share the ‘extra’ with others! I want to start a Trade School in Ottawa. “Trade School Co-op Ottawa,” explains Shirley, “will be an alternative, self-organized school that runs on a barter system — direct exchange of goods or services for other goods or services. My vision is for it to enable sharing of hands-on knowledge and practical wisdom and skills, to show the value of ‘alternative’ education in non-traditional spaces, and to celebrate the social nature of non-monetary exchange.” Interested teachers will be able to… read more →

Awesome November in NYC: Hurricane Sandy Relief

December 18, 2012

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, communities in the most devastated parts of New York City began the process of rebuilding almost immediately, mostly through the work of volunteers and self-motivated individuals stepping up personally with very little infrastructure or centralized support. In the Rockaways, one of the areas hit hardest, a group of local artists and builders are collaborating on an alternative relief and resilience project called This is Not a Trash Pile. They have teamed up with Culinary Kids, a local organization working with youth to promote nutrition and self-sufficiency through local agriculture and aquaculture projects. Together, they have erected a tent built from salvaged material on NYC Parks Department property under the stewardship of Culinary Kids. With programming from The Whale Project, The Fixers Collective and Time’s Up, among many others, this tent will be a hub for the community and will host combination of youth educational programs, resilient community programs, and mutual aid and distribution programs. We’ve even heard that the tent is going to house a library!       AwesomeNYC is proud to name This is Not a Trash Pile our November grant recipient. The funds will go toward materials and heating units for the tent,… read more →


December 3, 2012

Planet Orchestra Performing for Foundation Board Members on October 19th, 2012   What happens when you combine curious kids, eager parents and a whole bucket load of orchestral instruments?  You get planet Orchestra.  Los Angeles South Bay Awesome Foundation (yes, that’s a mouthful isn’t it?) was excited to the brim to award it’s second grant to a growing group of devoted musicians based out of Lawndale California.  These musicians aren’t your ordinary orchestra, they are youth that are given free lessons, an instrument and (most valuable of all) a nurturing environment in which “to come together to achieve the common good of making music.”  Planet orchestra has grown, from its inception in 2010 with a group of eight children, to a thriving group of professional musicians, volunteers, parents and children. Based in Lawndale, Planet Orchestra has grand ideas and does not plan to stop with just a few lessons to a few kids.  This energetic group of social entrepreneurs hopes to use its existing system to spring board into school classrooms, dance studios, and (in the words of Buzz Lightyear) to infinite and beyond!  There’s little doubt that Planet Orchestra will continue to impact lives and make our world a… read more →