Calling Trustees for AF-Nairobi!

September 21, 2013

Thrilled recently to be contacted by Robi Esialimba, who is interested in starting up an Awesome Foundation chapter in Nairobi! Him and his co-founder Weldon Kennedy are putting out an open call for trustees, so drop a line to Robi if you’re interested or know someone who might be someone great for them to team up with. Here’s their pitch for the new chapter: Nairobians for an Awesome Nairobi – Join the Awesome Foundation Nairobi Chapter Nairobi is a bustling, happening city, full of verve and a palpable mojo attracting Kenyans from upcountry and foreigners in equal measure to experience its offerings. With its swanky bars and restaurants, artsy events and concerts, hip and yuppie culture, it feels like it has a lot going for it. But Nairobi has a dark side to it too: widespread poverty, spiraling crime, squalid public spaces, dust and pollution and unforgettably the pain in the backside matatus! Some of us look forward longingly to the next election hoping that, maybe just maybe, the next county or national government will get its act together only for those hopes to be brutally dashed – again. Many of us feel jaded and have implicitly or explicitly decided to “accept and… read more →

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 →

Over 1,000 Awesome Grant Applications in One Month!

May 23, 2012

We are proud to announce that this month, for the first time ever we have received over 1,000 grant applications worldwide in one month (1,018 to be precise). When the Awesome Foundation began in Boston, never could have we imagined during our first meetings that three years later we could have over a thousand applications per month from around the world, with dozens of chapters and hundreds of members all helping make the world a more awesome and beautiful place. Reviewing the grants is truly a wonderful experience as we get to see a small snapshot of how people around the world want to improve their communities, create amazing art, and make others smile through their awesome endeavors. Although we aren’t able to award grants to everyone, we know that many of the applicants find alternate methods of funding and go on to make great things happen with or without our assistance and nothing can stop their awesomeness. We are thankful to everyone who has applied and who will apply in the future. You are each awesome in your own way.  

Awesome Summit 2012: It’s Coming!

April 23, 2012

The Institute on Higher Awesome Studies is incredibly proud to present the first-ever Awesome Summit, July 21-23, 2012 in Cambridge, MA! On the 3rd anniversary of the first meeting of the Awesome Foundation, we are having a two-part summit to celebrate, discuss, and hack on our founding principles: peer-to-peer giving, democratizing grants, and making our communities more awesome. Awesome Summit: Assemble (July 21st-22nd) will be a meetup and workathon for Awesome Foundation affiliates ONLY. Representatives from each of our chapters will gather to meet each other, share advice and experiences, and work on shared resources to help spread our model even further. If you’re a member of an Awesome Foundation chapter and would like an invite, please email us. Awesome Summit: Connect (July 23rd) is open to the public and will extend the discussion to the wider community of people who are experimenting in the philanthropy/community development space. Join representatives from tons of organizations like Kickstarter,, and New Urban Mechanics in discussing issues like decentralized organizations and open brands, encouraging engaged donors, and the legal and political infrastructure we need. We want this to serve as a launching point for collaborations between these various organizations, and as a place to discuss the broader questions facing all the new organizations that… read more →

What is awesome?

July 10, 2011

We’ve had an Awesome Foundation here in Sydney for a few months now and over that time, we’ve seen approximately 50 applications for our monthly grant. We get quite a few questions from friends and colleagues about how the Awesome Foundation works, namely: 1) “What happens if you’re funding terrorism?” 2) “What exactly makes something awesome?” The answer to question 1 is that we have an application process where we use common logic, and sometimes checking out the project in question, to ensure we don’t fund terrorism. But at the end of the day, it’s a no strings attached grant to do something awesome, and terrorism isn’t really that awesome. The second question is a bit harder to answer. We all know ‘awesome’ when we see it right? But how exactly do you go about encouraging people to apply for our awesome grant if they’re unaware they might be eligible!?! 9 awesome indicators Rich Cooper, from AF Toronto, has put together a phenomenal list that we think helps define what is awesome. If you’ve got a little side project on the go and you think it’s totally awesome, you should apply here. 1. Newness – Is this idea totally new?… read more →