Futel wins our September grant. Plus, a Halloween surprise!

The $1000 check went to Karl Anderson for the Futel project, bringing back public telephones – free! Futel takes old public payphones and retrofits them to make calls over the interwebs – “a cross between a public service, art installation and confusing artifact.” Their first phone can be found on SE Clinton, and the Awesome grant will allow them to install a second. Dial “0” on a Futel phone and you’ll be connected with one of the Futel volunteers playing operator (but not between midnight and 8am. Then you’re out of luck.)

And then, a Halloween surprise! The trustees looked into the dusty, spider webbed corners of our pockets and found an extra $500 grant for the Davis Graveyard, “the Peacock Lane of Halloween.” This elaborate, half-acre display gets thousands of visitors in October and hosts the Milwaukee HS dance team dancing “Thriller” in the driveway. It’s free to the public, and created and paid for by the Davises and 20 volunteers.

The $100 People’s Choice Award went to the charmingly enthusiastic Giovanni Blair McKenzie for the Opportunities in Education (Op Ed) tour. LGBTQ youth are more likely to drop out of school because of bullying. The Op Ed Tour travels to spaces frequented by disenfranchised LGBTQ youth with resources for finishing high school and attending community or 4-year colleges.

Many thanks go out to our fantastic musicians the Kauf Boys and our gracious hosts at Velo Cult.

November Grants

For our November grant party, we’ve partnered with The City Club of Portland to fund a $1,000 grant on the theme of civic engagement.

Do you have a project that will address a social issue or mobilize a group of people to solve a problem in Portland? Last year City Club’s research, advocacy and forums focused on homelessness, and this year our programming will have an intentional focus on racial equity. So Awesome Portland and City Club of Portland want to hear from you! We’re giving out a $1,000 grant to one of five finalists proposing projects along these civic engagement themes.

Applications are due by November 7th and can be submitted via our application page.

Diode Gallery wins the July grant

Our July grant party was a toasty one!

The $1000 check went to Surya Buchwald for the Diode Gallery and TUIO Jam. Diode is a forthcoming downtown gallery for digital art. Half the grant will go to finishing the gallery space. The other half will go towards the inaugural event — the TUIO Jam, in which a roomful of displays will respond to a single touchscreen. The work is group-created through a series of hack days. (Interested? There’s a hack day on August 2 with open spots!)

And then, A FIRST!

We counted up the votes for the $100 People’s Choice Award to find we had a tie! Fearless Dean Leslie quickly hit up the Micro Trustees for more cash and TWO awards were given:

Church of Robotron: This quirky group believes that an 8-bit 80’s arcade game predicts a disastrous future for humanity, unless the mutant savior can be found! In all seriousness, there will be actual lasers triggered by in game events, which is pretty awesome.

Karaoking Portland: Art group Weird Allan Kaprow recently staged Karaoking the Museum — an interactive event using rewritten pop songs to tell the story of art movements and more. Now they’d like to take their irreverent karaoke out into the neighborhoods of Portland.

Thanks go out to our amazing musician Housewife and to our hardworking hosts at The Waypost, with their tasty, tasty drink specials. Thanks as well to our emcee, Awesome Trustee Jeanne Turner, who is (*sniff*) leaving Portland in September for new adventures.

Sleepy July, best time to apply.

Oh, the lazy days of summer in Portland. Lemonade, sunshine, and the occasional 90+ degree day that sends us scurrying for any available air conditioned space (except for the hard core cyclists – they’ll stop at NOTHING).

With all this gorgeous distraction, our July grant applications are predictably sleepy. But for the enterprising awesomer, July is the best time to apply! You’ll never have a better chance of walking away with the $1000 check than in July.

So get to it! Grant applications are due by midnight, July 8th.

Street Books wins our May grant

The regular-sized check (where do you order those giant checks, anyway?) for a cool $1K went to Laura Moulton with Ben Hodgson for Street Books, a bicycle-powered library catering to those who live outdoors. Laura started Street Books with a short term grant and the “audacious assumption that people who slept on cardboard would want a paperback book.” And they did! Street Books operates with volunteers and a shoestring budget. The grant will go towards expanding the book selection and offering compensation to longtime library patrons like Ben for their work for the project.

The $100 People’s Choice award went to Amanda Rain Brazel of Speaking the Unspeakable, whose infectious energy really wowed us. Amanda wants to use that energy to encourage the silent to speak their truth and claim their worth.

Big thank yous to all our finalists and their awesome ideas:

• Giant Ball league: a forgotten sport with a 6 ft ball - Kevin Fiske
• An amateur choir with anything but amateur intentions - Jesse Mejía
• A space for local makers to sell repurposed, useful items - Lauren Gross

More thanks to our amazing musicians, Robin Bacior with Dan Bindschedler, and to gracious hosts Dig A Pony.

We’ve Got May Grant Finalists!

Resurrecting a forgotten sport: Two teams roll a 6 ft diameter ball towards a goal while avoiding getting crushed by same. What could possibly go wrong?

Repurposaurus: A pop-up shop showcasing old stuff cleverly repurposed into new and useful stuff by local makers

Singers from Chud Alley: Amateur musicians take on challenging works by contemporary composers – and triumph!

Speaking the Unspeakable, Soapbox Style: A portable PA system hits the road to help people find their voice on a metaphorical soapbox

Street Books: A bicycle-powered mobile library serving people who live outside is ready to expand to a second library-bike

Hear them in person next Tuesday, May 27th at Dig A Pony!

Awesome Day is coming to Portland on Saturday

One of our Awesome Trustees, Adam, spoke with KATU about tomorrow’s Awesome Day.

Awesome is whatever you want it to be,” Zucker said. “Anything that makes you put a smile on people’s faces or just makes Portland a better place is awesome in my mind.
Take a picture of yourself doing something awesome for Portland and send it to us! Our winner will receive $75 and the opportunity to pick next month’s funded project at our Grant Party!

Awesome Portland Trustees talk on XRAY.fm

Two of our Awesome Portland trustees appeared on Jefferson Smith’s show “Thank You, Democracy” on XRAY.fm (who themselves were our seventh project funded back in May 2013).

Megan and Adam discussed a variety of topics, including Megan’s own Awesome Project Piano Push Play, dangerous pianos, the work of the Awesome Foundation, and making Portland a better—and more awesome—place.

If you missed it, you can catch them on the archived show on Soundcloud. Our thanks to Jefferson Smith and XRAY.fm for having us on!

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