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- How it Works
- About Awesome
Got an awesome idea, but need some cash to do it?
We’ve got no-strings-attached money for you!
There aren’t any hard requirements for a grant, but after looking at applications for a few months now there are some things we look for:
- What’s your idea?
- Why’s it awesome?
- How will $1,000 make it happen? (Will you need other money too?)
- Have you done your homework? (How will you do it? What could get in your way?)
- Where will it happen? (Will it be accessible to residents of the greater Chicagoland area?)
- How will people find out about it? (How will they experience it?)
- When will it happen? (Do you have a timeline? Do you have a deadline or expected completion date?)
- If there are photos or videos that will help explain, link us to them.
We’re always accepting applications. Our deadline is always the last day of the month.
Some things to keep in mind:
Successful project proposals need to be well defined and achievable. Your proposal should demonstrate that you know what you want to do and that you’ve taken the time to figure out how to achieve it. We like to see that you’ve already started doing some of the legwork for the project. So if you want to paint a local high school blue, we’d like to know that you’ve talked to the principal of the school, the school district, etc., and that they all support your plan. If you can convince us that you have an awesome idea, that you’ve made all of the necessary arrangements, and that all you need is the money in order to pull the project off by such-and-such a date, we’ll be a lot more likely to fund you than if you just write to us and say “I have this awesome idea. Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” Ideally, what you are lacking is funds, not vision or planning.
We’re generally most interested in projects where the $1000 is sufficient funding to carry the project to completion. We often receive requests to award a grant as a small contribution to a larger effort. The projects are often doing great things, but these aren’t the kind of endeavors we’re looking to fund. There are many foundations out there who do fund large projects — we just have a different focus.
In general, we like to fund projects that can happen in the next three to six months, or perhaps a year. There’s no hard and fast rule on that, and it depends on the nature of the project, but if your project is going to take several years, we’re going to want to know why. Even if your project isn’t going to require a lot of time, it’s great if you can give us specifics about when and where it will be completed.
As the Chicago Chapter of the Awesome Foundation, we’re particularly partial to projects that serve the residents of Chicago and nearby communities. The project doesn’t necessarily have to be physically located in Chicago, but Chicagoans should have access to it (e.g. via the web, presentations, documentation).
The most common reasons that projects are not funded:
- the project does not engage the general public (e.g. requests that seek funding for personal travel, artists seeking to fulfill a personal dream, etc. that fail to explain of how the experience will be shared with a wide audience)
- the proposal asks for a contribution to a larger fundraising effort
- the proposal fails to specify the nuts and bolts of how the project will be accomplished, e.g. where the project will take place, that the necessary permits have been acquired, where the materials will come from, how the technical implementation will occur, when the project will be completed.
- the project isn’t accessible to Chicagoans
For more information on the Awesome Foundation and what we fund, check out this interview with Chris McAvoy (a founding trustee of the Chicago Chapter) or visit the Awesome Foundation’s national website.