The Awesome Foundation Seeks Awesome Trustees

June 5, 2009

Cross posted from the original “Call to Awesome” on Tim Hwang’s blog.

I’ve been babbling directionlessly about crowdsourcing Awesome for a little while now, but I’m glad to report that after some encouragement from the awesome folks at Dorkbot Boston and Betahouse — we’re finally getting off our behinds here at BrosephStalin headquarters in Boston.

We’ve teamed up with the good people at Information Superhighway and are officially announcing today the creation of first (and only) chapter of The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences. And we’re seeking trustees to be a part of it.

And, you might ask: what is the Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences?

I’m glad you asked.

The idea is simple: create a monthly $1,000 grant awarded to a person doing things to forward the interest of Awesome. The money will be spent on a project, activity, or research, and it will be (intentionally) broadly defined. We don’t even really care if it’s for fun or for profit. We will never claim your intellectual property or anything like that, and anyone in the world is eligible. So long as you need the money and the idea is awesome, you will receive it with no strings attached. Period. End of story.

Think of us like a fast-paced micro-MacArthur Foundation for your flashes of fast-paced micro-genius.
Oh sure, there’s lots of bigger grants that you could apply for out there. But they’re expecting you to fill out large onerous forms, fulfill all sorts of legal and organizational requirements, and probably require you to laboriously report about how you’re doing. It also might take months (or years) for the checks to clear. Worst of all, the granting organizations will probably require you to hide your motivations for promoting Awesome in a boring, stuffy cloak of academic, scientific, or artistic significance.

Screw that. We say this today: Awesomeness demands doing immediately, and we aim to help people do it.
To facilitate that, we’re making the grant competition process as lightweight and fast as possible — once a month, there will be a short publicly available application to fill out. If accepted, we give you personal checks (or even cash in a brown paper bag if it comes to something like that) and then you tell us what you did for five minutes at the monthly Information Superhighway party. That’s it.

And, you might ask: that sounds great, but Tim, where are you going to get $1,000 a month?

I’m glad you asked.

It’s a simple strategy — we’re looking for a small dedicated set of trustees making the conscious choice to foster Awesome out of their own disposable income. By bringing these people together, The Awesome Foundation aims to collectively crowdsource their resources.

It’s a strategy that we’ve experimented with while throwing the Information Superhighway party each month (total, the event costs $500 of out-of-pocket expenses per month and is reliably shared between two people), and it works. If you look at it, the mathematics of it all end up being shockingly do-able.

So, right now, we’re seeking a limited, committed number of ten (10) micro-trustees to form the core board of the Awesome Foundation. The obligations are simple, but serious:

  1. To be willing to commit $100 per month in the interest of Awesome.
  2. To contribute this money in the form of bringing a checkbook or cash to a monthly grant application review session.
  3. To play an active role in accepting applications and collectively deciding who gets them.
  4. To commit to finding a replacement micro-trustee, should one need to back out of the financial obligation of being a micro-trustee of The Awesome Foundation.

If this interests you and you’d like to become a micro-trustee — please get in touch, sending a short statement of interest to containing:

  • Explanation of Your Interest In The Awesome Foundation
  • A Discussion of What You Think Is Awesome
  • A Discussion of Your Previous Experience In Contributing To Awesome.
  • How It Is You Can Commit $100 A Month.