Supporting “Awesomeness” in Kingston

Posted on June 21, 2012

There’s a new group in town that is giving away $1000 cash each month to support ‘awesome’ ideas in Kingston.

Awesome Kingston is a group of individuals committed to making Kingston an even better community” explains Tina Bailey, Associate Director of the Centre for Responsible Leadership, and one of the group’s fifteen Trustees.   “There are a lot of great ideas out there that just need some seed money to take off.  We want people to share their ideas with us, and it’s exciting because each month our funding helps people turn their awesome ideas into action.”

While it’s hard to define what exactly makes an idea awesome, you often know one when you hear it. Characteristics the group find appealing are ideas that step out of the ordinary, change the Kingston community for the better, inspire, excite, and just plain makes people beam with smiles.

The $1000 monthly funding comes directly from the Trustees, so there are no restrictions on who can apply or what type of projects are funded.   Anyone – individuals, groups, non-profits, or even businesses – can submit a proposal.  The only requirement is that it makes Kingston more awesome.  Crazy brilliant ideas are encouraged!

Applications can be submitted on line at any time. On the first Thursday of the month proposals are reviewed by the Trustees, and the favorites are invited to give a 90 second pitch at a public location on the third Thursday of the month.  At the end of the “Pitch Party”, Trustees will select their favorite project and one Awesome Idea will receive a brown paper bag with $1000 cash to execute their idea – no strings attached!

“The monthly Pitch Parties are like a friendly ‘Dragon’s Den’ experience. People pitch their idea and then answer questions from Trustees and the audience” Bailey explains.   “It’s a fun night, and it’s amazing to see the connections that are made and how good ideas are made even better through the process. Even pitchers that don’t receive the grant often leave with some benefit – a suggestion, connection, or we have even seen equipment and in-kind support offered on-the spot by audience members.  It’s great to see the impact of what we are doing beyond the grants themselves just by having people share their ideas publically.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the Pitch Parties; information on dates and location can be found on the group’s website.

Awesome Kingston is a chapter of the Awesome Foundation for the Arts & Sciences, a growing network of people devoted to “forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe”.  First created in Boston in 2009, autonomous and self-organizing chapters are springing up around the world.

Recent projects that have been funded include Centennial Public School’s Eco Kids ‘Eat it to Beat it’ Campaign, in which local school kids are combatting the non-native garlic mustard weed that has been invading area gardens by encouraging Kingstonians to eat it, and ‘26 Shorts’ which is supporting local Kingston filmmakers to create 26 short films in 26 weeks to highlight the local community and artists.

For more information on Awesome Kingston, visit their website, Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter @AwesomeKingston.

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