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September 11, 2013

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Congrats to our April grantee, Performing Possibilities, on an amazing performance!

July 16, 2013

We here at the Austin Awesome Foundation weren’t the only ones to take note of the sheer awesomeness Conspire Theater’s Performing Possibilities project, which aims to empower formerly incarcerated women through the dramatic arts. Performing Possibilities also garnered a glowing profile in the Austin Chronicle. As co-artistic director Kat Craft explained in her grant application: “Conspire will bring a group formerly incarcerated women together with local artists for an intensive three-day weekend in July 2013. Using techniques we’ve perfected creating theatre in jail, we’ll interview the participants and use the resulting stories to create an impactful performance together. High production values are guaranteed by the musicians and theatre artists from the Austin community committed to the process. On Sunday evening, we’ll take the stage together before an audience of family, friends, Conspire supporters, and the Austin community.” When the day finally arrived, the house was packed, and the AF trustees lucky enough to get tickets were amazed at how such a powerful, moving, and enlightening event came together in such a short period of time. The next step, according to Conspire Theater‘s co-artistic directors Michelle Dahlenburg and Kat Craft, is to take an expanded version of the program on the road. We… read more →

AF Austin’s June grantee: Control Moment Gyroscope for Robotics

June 30, 2013

The Austin Awesome Foundation’s June $1000 grant goes to a talented team of Austin high school students, Joshua Stricker and Marek Travnikar. Both Josh and Marek are members of their school’s robotics team, which is how they got the idea for their project: a Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG). We’ll let Josh and Marek explain what that means:   A CMG uses the angular momentum of a high speed flywheel to effect the movement of the object that the gyroscope is mounted to. The most common application of CMGs is in satellites, such as the international space station, where they are used for navigation and maneuvering. Our design is obviously on a much smaller scale. our goal is to be able to perform wheelies, somersaults, rolls and other maneuvers on a 120-pound robot solely using the CMG.   The way we would accomplish this is relatively simple. A 30-pound flywheel is spun up to and kept spinning at 6000rpm by two powerful Cim motors. This assembly is mounted on two gimbals which can each be rotated 360 degrees, applying a torque to the flywheel. This rotation is accomplished with two more Cims, one per gimbal, each with a three stage planetary gearbox… read more →

AF Austin’s March grantee: Have a Ball

March 30, 2013

The Austin chapter of the Awesome Foundation is pleased to award our March $1000 cash grant to Jackie Garrett and her project, Have a Ball. Garrett is a lead crisis counselor with the Austin Police Department’s Victim Services Division, where she has worked for 14 years. The inspiration behind her Have a Ball project came from her work, where she, like many first responders, comes in regular contact with traumatized children who have either been victims of or witnesses to violent crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide, and homicide. When called to a crime scene, Victim Services counselors often hand out teddy bears to these children, but, Garrett, a former soccer goalie at Baylor University, had a slightly different idea. She wanted to give kids soccer balls. Not only does a shiny new soccer ball bring a smile to a child’s face, Garrett says, it also serves a therapeutic purpose. “Giving children a reason to run and play is a wonderful coping mechanism that we try to teach everyone to do after a disaster,” says Garrett. “Studies have shown that kids that have a physical outlet for their emotions tend to cope better and recover faster.”  Garrett says… read more →