The DC Awesome Grant is Fab-ulous!

December 14, 2010

It gives us great pleasure to announce the first award for the Awesome Foundation DC grant is (drum roll please): Fab Lab DC.

After reviewing over 70 applications and with much passionate discussion, our board came to a completely unanimous agreement for the winner of the first Awesome Foundation DC grant.

So what is this Fab Lab and why is it AWESOME?

Phyllis Klein, the powerhouse behind the application, is currently operating a mobile Fab Lab over on 14th St. The Awesome Foundation grant is going to help her activate their new bricks and mortar space on North Capitol Street, NW. Here’s her proposal for an awesome grant:

In the spirit of MIT’s Fab Lab community outreach project, Fab Lab DC will create a high-tech, fabrication laboratory/community workshop in the heart of the Nation’s Capital to advance creativity, innovation, and collaborative projects. Fab Lab DC will serve and foster the creative community by providing access to digital fabrication technology, rapid prototyping, and the global Fab Lab network.

Fab Labs enable people to use technology to create, experiment and produce, shifting the paradigm away from people merely “consuming” technology toward using technology to create solutions.

With a focus on life-long learning and emphasis on investigative teamwork, Fab Lab DC plans to provide a range of educational programs for people of all ages, including access to the international Fab Lab network and Fab Academy, which extend opportunities for information sharing, research, and broader social impact.

Fab Lab is for local community members, life-long learners, inventors, entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals.

With its location within walking distance and in view of the U. S. Capitol Building, Fab Lab DC will also serve as a model for the nation’s leaders in policy, government, and industry, to experience, first hand, Fab Lab’s proven grass-roots approach in developing technical education and literacy, promoting innovation, launching inventions, and incubating new businesses.

If you would like to get involved, your support, in the form of monetary donations, supplies, and sponsorships, is warmly welcomed. Phyllis has promised that there will also be opportunities for people to volunteer their time and talents to help launch Fab Lab DC. For more information, or to help out, please get in touch with Phyllis.

But wait! There’s More!
We have also decided to award an honorable mention to the Kitchen Classroom Project. Though we can only award one cash grant, we hope you will help us to help the folks at Walker Jones public elementary school get the cooking equipment they need to keep their kitchen classroom going over the winter.

Frances Evangelista, Community Outreach and Development Director for Walker-Jones, filled me in on their work and needs:

This farm is our outdoor classroom, a place where the students can make a real connection to the sources of what they eat, and then let those connections run out into all areas of the school curriculum. We sit on a high traffic corner of the city at K and New Jersey so when weather permits, just look out for the kids on a half acre farm near downtown eating raw veggies. Can’t miss us!

When weather does not permit, you will find our kids inside cooking high quality ingredients and expanding their young palettes. With only an occasional “Yuck!” heard.

This project really warmed our hearts, so stay tuned because we will need your help in the next few weeks to get them what they need.

And there’s still more Awesomeness!

We were hugely impressed by the high quality of the inaugural round of grant applications to the D.C. chapter of the Awesome Foundation. Other fine and deserving projects that made it into our shortlist include:

  • An Interior Makeover for Maple View Deli
  • Bridgestop Skateboarding
  • Musical Robots
  • Temporary Homeless Shelters
  • Light Painting Flash Mob
  • Save Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium!
  • Bodacious Basketball: Sports for Kids!
  • Living Wall: An Urban Gardening Experiment
  • BusBeeps

These projects were written with great passion and enthusiasm. We are encouraging all finalists to apply again, to set up a Kickstarter account to raise funds, and to find partners who can help out and to seek out other ways to make their projects happen! If you are interested in supporting any of these great ideas, please let us know and we will put you in touch with the project leaders.

Applications for the January grant are now live. If you think you’ve got an Awesome idea then get your submissions in now!

Remember – this is not your traditional grant. We’re looking for projects that stand out in all their shiny sparkly awesomeness. We will favor projects that show you have considered:

  • Timeliness – Can it happen fairly soon? Is it weather dependant?
  • Community Impact – Does this benefit your community in some way?
  • The Amount – The grant is for $1000. Show us that it will be meaningful.
  • And most importantly, AWESOME-ness – Make us speechless with the power of your idea. Knock our socks off with your futuristic vision.  Entertain us with your witty banter. Seriously blow our minds with all your amazingly fabulous awesomeness. Get wild. Go crazy. Submit your application in rhyming couplets if you think it will give you the edge. Get us as excited about this project as you are.

Once you’ve come up with your grant application, remember to test your idea on someone before you submit. If they say: “Wow! That’s Awesome!” then you’re ready.

Be awesome like Phyllis and Fab Lab. Apply now.