Awesome Mongolia Underway!

May 23, 2012

The members of Awesome Mongolia are extremely excited to tell you about the formation of our first chapter, Awesome Sukhbaatar! The idea has been really popular in our small town of Baruun-Urt, located in the Sukhbaatar province of Mongolia.   Former Peace Corps Volunteer Travis Hellstrom and I started our group slowly with a couple of key local leaders who we knew would be interested and are always motivated to help the community. They expanded it quickly and we had our group of 10 in no time, not to mention the support of the local government, media, plus a few other interested members waiting for openings or even a second chapter! I will act as the co-dean for the next year with Aldarmaa, our province’s educational department foreign language specialist. To get our first project going, we decided to introduce the idea to the community through an essay contest hosted by the Education Department. The topic was “If I had 200,000 tugriks I would…” On Children’s Day, a major holiday on June 1st here in Mongolia, we will announce the winner and award the student with the prize (roughly $200 US) to make their awesome idea happen! Later, we’re also… read more →

Building Millennial Philanthropy, 1% at A Time

August 24, 2011

Re-posted from, for all you AF fans who love innovative philanthropy. Beginnings In 2007, Daniel Kaufman started a conversation about philanthropic giving over dinner with his law school friends that has since blossomed into the One Percent Foundation (OPF), a national organization that engages young adults in philanthropy through giving circles and leadership development. That first circle of friends realized that they were giving reactively, rather than strategically funding the things they cared most about. They uncovered a pattern of challenges that stopped them and their generation from doing more: A concern that they couldn’t afford to be philanthropists. Not knowing where their money would be most effectively shared. Doubting their potential to make an impact. That group started their own giving circle, pooling 1% of their incomes and collectively overcoming these challenges to effective philanthropy. “I never meant to start an organization,” Daniel admits.  Soon, the original founders moved to New York, DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle, growing into a national giving circle. By 2009, they realized they were filling a vital niche. OPF was ready to scale. “Millennials aren’t at the table. [They] don’t control any of the sources of funding, and the non-profit landscape represents… read more →

Power of Awesome

February 27, 2011

This is a post from  Awesome Foundation Melbourne micro-trustee Jan Stewart. Tonight the Awesome Melbourne Foundation dinner took place for the second time. The thing that struck me about our meeting was the amazingly rapid development in social cohesion amongst the group and the creativity and transformation that occurred in each person’s life in the space of a month. The co-founders deliberately chose a very diverse group of individuals for the Melbourne chapter of Awesome. It can often take time for such diversity to find common ground. The element I underestimated in this whole situation is awesomeness itself. Each person in the group asked to be a part of this because we obviously love and value awesomeness immensely. It is this quality that we have in common, and it is this quality that was responsible for the massive development in social cohesion and creativity in a very short amount of time. In keeping our eye primarily on awesomeness, even though there was the temptation to be distracted by our differences, this aspect pulled us all together collectively and forward individually. Most people in the group also experienced a massive shift in their personal life circumstances within the last month, from choosing… read more →

The Many Manifestations of Awesome

February 2, 2011

We recently heard about a new project in Grand Rapids, MI called 5×5 night that sounds like the genius child between the Awesome Foundation and Ignite or Pecha Kucha: 5 ideas are presented for 5 minutes each with 5 slides, and 5 judges then decide which to give $5000 to. It sounds like a great time and we can’t wait to see what comes out of it. Another excellent project similar to us is the Sunday Soup network, which was actually founded in 2007 (2 years before the Awesome Foundation!) and has 25 groups throughout the United States and Europe. Sunday Soup’s model of microgrants is based around people coming together around an affordable communal meal, the proceeds of which go towards a creative project of the diners’ choosing. Basically, it’s like Awesome Foundation: the dinner party–and how could you possibly not love that? If you know of another micro-granting initiative out there (or want to start one!), please let us know so we can make a totally sweet webring. Awesomeness is a renewable resource, and as far as we’re concerned, the more the merrier!