Awesome Foundation attracts small-project entrepreneurs
About 50 people turned up at the BetaHouse technology co-working space in Cambridge last night to hear how they could get $1,000 to fund their own “awesome” pet project.
Twelve trustees have each agreed to contribute $100 a month to the loosely organized “Awesome Foundation,” which promises $1,000 each month to fund “awesome” projects.
“It’s just that extra spark to push people to be creative and try out their idea,” said trustee Emily Daniels. “I could spend that $100 on some random shopping trip, or I could inspire someone to do something great. I don’t know why more people don’t do this.”
Daniels, who directs an English-language-learning program in Cambridge and helps organize the creative electricity maker community Dorkbot-Boston, is typical of the tech-minded trustees at the Awesome Foundation.
However, many of the 250 ideas submitted so far have nothing to do with technology, and that’s okay with founder Tim Hwang. “We do want to establish ourselves as an organization that funds a whole range of different things,” he said.
Hwang said the new initiative has received requests from people wanting to start chapters and sign up trustees in four countries. For now, he said, the number of trustees will remain limited while the group establishes itself, he said.
Trustee Matt Lake, a programmer at Watertown-based health care IT company Athenahealth Inc., said as long as the project is feasible, ethical and legal, it doesn’t matter whether it is sustainable over the long-term. “I want to see something eye-opening and inspirational,” he said.
“It’s kind of the broken windows theory, in reverse,” said trustee and BetaHouse co-founder Jon Pierce, referring to the social theory that minor crimes like vandalism or illegal dumping, unchecked, can lead to serious crime. “If you flip that on its head you can say here’s all this great stuff going on, and we’re going to showcase it and encourage it.”
The Awesome Foundation is accepting grant applications. http://awesomefoundation.org.