I Won a $1,000 Grant From the Awesome Foundation!

Yesterday afternoon, I received an email from the Awesome Foundation, letting me know I had won a $1,000 grant for a project proposal I submitted. My head is still reeling, as it’s still registering that I actually won one of the grants… and that I’ll get to apply these funds towards my project.

For those not familiar with the Awesome Foundation, they grant monthly awards of $1,000 to projects/creators each group deems worthy (and awesome):

Created in the long hot summer days of 2009 in Boston, the Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is given upfront in cash, check, or gold doubloons by groups of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees,” who form autonomous chapters around geographic areas or topics of interest.

As of today, there are 27 Chapters, located in different cities around the world. My grant was given by the Chicago Chapter, but here’s the really neat thing: if you and nine of your friends agree to donate $100 each every month… you can form your own chapter. And just like that, you can start to accept project proposals, and make awesome things happen.

I first heard about the Awesome Foundation a few months ago, and sent in a proposal that didn’t get selected. A month or so ago I had another project idea… and amazingly, it’s the one they selected!

Here’s my project in a nutshell: I will be creating QR codes that, when scanned, will load up a random YouTube video featuring someone reading a favorite poem.

On the viewing side – the QR code will resolve to a specific URL on the project website. Code on that page will then randomly select one of the many submitted videos, and display one at random. The hope is that, over time, more and more videos will be created/submitted. The goal will be that no two scans would yield the same poem.

On the creation side – users will be encouraged to record a video of themselves reading a favorite poem, and to upload it to YouTube. From there, they can visit the project’s website and submit their video (name, poem title, YouTube link).

As submissions are approved, they appear on the project website and also become available in the larger pool, when someone scans a QR code. At some future point, it would be nice to create multiple QR codes (one code that only displays sonnets, another that only displays poems with a given tag, etc).

The money from the grant will be going towards the creation and distribution of QR code stickers. I’m not sure exactly what they’ll look like, but I’ve got a rough image in my head. I want it to have some design/branding to it, but also be “plain” enough that it makes producing them economical.

When the project site is ready, I’d like to have a launch party in Chicago where I’d distribute the stickers to anyone in attendance. Additionally, I’d like to set up a video recording area where attendees can make a quick video for the project, right there on-site. As the project continues beyond the launch, I plan to make the stickers available to anyone who requests them – regardless of whether or not they live into Chicago. The logistics (and cost) of mailing stickers to others is still something I need to work out, number-wise.

So that’s the project! And honestly, when I step back to look at this thing… the biggest hurdle isn’t any of the technology at all. The biggest challenge that I see is getting the videos created, getting participants to create the content. I have some plans for this (getting a small pool of videos created through friends, then adding to that pool at the launch party). But I’m also hoping to get some assistance from the Awesome Foundation Chicago folks – as they may have better PR avenues than I do, at present.

I’ve got a lot of plans, and a lot of details to still work out – but I am incredibly jazzed and excited. It’s incredibly flattering to have been selected, and it feels… dare I say it? Awesome.

A few quick things I wanted to mention: I’ve got strong feelings about QR codes, and their potential. But as of today I see them being used by lazy marketers, slapped onto a poster where they’re nothing more than a glorified link to a website. I look at things like the QRadio project by Sweza, and I feel like there’s so much more that can be done. I’m planning on a longer blog post about QR codes, soon.

And finally – check out how the Awesome Foundation works. I can’t stress it enough: consider submitting a proposal. The form itself is designed to keep things brief, so while you should have a good idea of what you want to do… you don’t need to detail out every single step.

Not sure if your idea or project fits the requirements? Check out the FAQ. And then I’m serious – consider applying. I’ve got exactly one thousand reasons why you should.

The Awesome Foundation
Awesome Foundation Chicago
@chicagoawesome on Twitter
The Awesome Foundation: Providing $1,000 For Your Awesome Ideas

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. So psyched to read this. Thanks for passing the word to submit to us.

    derek sherman Reply

  2. That’s brilliant – I’l happily record and upload a video to the project.

    Papa_Gateau Reply

  3. Congrats. Great idea – let me know when you launch your project.

    Jon S. Reply

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