An Awesome Way To Find Funding

In the current climate of dwindling job prospects and global economic meltdown, few can argue that what the universe could really use is a hefty dose of good old-fashioned awesome.Thankfully, the Boston-based Awesome Foundation for Arts and Sciences was assembled this June by, among others, several recent Harvard grads in order to help elevate any depleted levels of awesome in the world.  The organization, comprised of ten trustees, awards a monthly grant of $1,000 provided directly, no strings attached, to the person whose idea the trustees deem unequivocally “awesome.”Unlike the majority of grant organizations, candidates for the Awesome Foundation fund must only complete a brief online application. The form requires applicants to describe their idea; they are encouraged to not feel any pressure to spin their proposal in a humanitarian light.“We want to give people the freedom to say hey, this is just something really awesome we want to do,” says trustee Tim R. Hwang ’08. “They don’t have to hide from us because they think their idea is just really interesting.”Though the fund draws project plans as varied as humongous hammocks, gigantic geometric spheres made of foam, and an armada of eco-friendly river running pods, the trustees do have a loosely established method of judging applications.  According to trustee Matthew Y. Blake ’08, the foundation seeks crazy or eccentric ideas that have never been done before and that will catch the public eye and make an impact.“We aren’t going to give you a thousand bucks to build a sweet-ass thing in your living room and never show it to anyone,” says Blake.Josh Gordonson, a sophomore at MIT and the winner of October’s “Awesome Fellowship,” exemplifies the foundation’s desire to fund cool ideas—literally—with his cotton candy cannon proposal.“One day I got the idea, why does cotton candy need to come in a stick?  It should probably come exploding into your face out of a gun!” says Gordonson.  “With the grant, it will be enough to make a few guns, which is way more than I hoped for. I’ll be able to have a cotton candy gun fight, maybe even start polysaccharide warfare!”Although the Awesome Foundation does not claim to be your typical charitable endeavor, they believe their mission is exciting and worthwhile.“People who are working in the interest of the promoting of awesome in the universe are often neglected and do not get the support they should,” said Hwang. “We hope this is one small step in spreading the awesome.”

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