Awesome Portland Trustees talk on

Two of our Awesome Portland trustees appeared on Jefferson Smith’s show “Thank You, Democracy” on (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 for having us on!

Awesome Day 2014

Participate in Awesome Day

In 2012, Mayor Sam Adams declared April 26 to be Awesome Day. This year we’ve decided to celebrate all the awesome things that we do here in Portland.

To participate, share with a picture of an awesome thing you did on Awesome Day to be in the running for some, um, awesome prizes! You can share a picture by posting it to our wall on our Facebook Page or by tweeting it to us at @awesomepdx. We’ll judge the best entries and announce a winner at our May 27 grant party at Dig a Pony, starting at 7PM.

Win Awesome Prizes!

The winner of our first Awesome Day prize will join the rest of our trustees as we vote for the winner of the $1,000 May Awesome Grant. They will also receive a cash prize of $75.

Obey Strict Rules

To be eligible, you need to:
  • Share with us a picture something awesome you did or saw
  • Attend the grant party on May 27
  • Be Awesome!

Awesome Foundation

Funding awesome ideas $1,000 at a time.

We are an ever-growing, worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe. Created in the long hot summer days of 2009 in Boston, the Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is pooled together from the coffers of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees” and given upfront in cash, check, or gold doubloons. The chapters are autonomous and organized by the trustees around geographic areas or topics of interest.

Congratulations to our March Winner

Amidst a torrential downpour (that’s March for you—comes in AND goes out like a lion), we had our March Awesome bash at Velo Cult.

The $1,000 check went to Travis Feldman for Shrink Circuits Nomad Labs, a transportable workshop spreading the joy of DIY electrical circuit design using shrink plastic as a substrate. Travis has put on workshops at Maker Faires and MakerSpaces and is expanding to community centers and schools. The grant will supply up the mobile lab with electronics, shrink plastic, and other supplies needed to empower even more budding electronics designers.


The $100 People’s Choice award went to Bianca Youngers of binks bar on Alberta. The crew at binks are installing a fancy Globaltap system on the side of the building to provide free, filtered water to anyone, anytime. Even cooler: the binks community is creating a grassroots art installation to highlight the area and entice thirsty passers-by over.Huge thanks go to all our amazing, awesome finalists:

  • IF Festival, an October event celebrating improvisation in all its artistic forms
  • Sing A Song of Portland, local walking tours that aim to get 40 people to stand on a street corner and belt out tunes with significance in Portland music history
  • Kids Art Gallery Soiree, by the fantastic folks at Art ala Carte

More thanks to the progressive folk trio Wildish, who provided us with lovely tunes, and to the Taco Pedaler for braving the downpour in a custom built taco trike to provide us with tasty, tasty tacos.

The First Awesome Grant Winner of 2014

And the winner is…instead of a drumroll, we need the sound of sewing machines humming…

The $1,000 dollar grant winner is Sarah Dee Ditson with her project Y.E.S. (Youth Empowerment Sewing). Sarah will be spending her $1,000 on a mobile sewing lab that she can take to youth centers around Portland helping teenagers alter clothes not just for size but also self expression. She already has a time to set up her lab at SYMRC. Cheers to Sarah as she begins her project. We look forward to hearing more about your sewing lab successes.

Thanks goes out to Dig A Pony and musician Nick Florez for an awesome night. Stay tuned for information on the next grant.

Dreamland receives the $1000 check!


Dreamland is a place where you find yourself unexpectedly. You are heading into the library or the courthouse or the museum and suddenly you come across a bed. There is someone sitting in a rocking chair reading aloud. You lie down and listen. It takes you to another place.

Our project is to take you to this place.  We bring in a these props and create a setting and then we invite participation, investigation, and experience.  To make the project work it requires interaction and trust. We are choosing to trust that people will respond and join and people are given the choice to trust us to bring them to a place of wonder. There is something magical about the bizarreness of the scene we are setting. We have witnessed face after face light up when they realize what we are offering them. In this project we are interrupting the day-to-day in order to remind people what is possible.  This is a repetitive process, it is done again and again in different spaces in order to reach a wider audience. We want to offer this to a wide diversity of people throughout the city, to offer this moment of whimsy and this glimpse into what is possible.

Visit this project’s website 

You’re Invited to the First Awesome Grant Party of 2014


First grant of 2014 to be awarded! What Awesome Project or Event will be the first to receive a $1000, no strings grant in 2014? Will it be you, or one of your friends? Have you been spreading the awesome word? Have you applied? The deadline for applications is January 14th Plan to join us at Dig A Pony, ‘a warm and welcoming bar in the heart of portland.’

November Event Recap

We had another spectacularly awesome bash last Thursday – our first at the Oregon Public House (OPH motto: “Have a pint, change the world.” We love both those things!). All five finalists brought phenomenal levels of awesome and it was another hard decision for the trustees.

The final prize went to Erica Thomas and Amy Conway, the co-conspirators that make up the Dreamland Artist Collective. Their Dreamland project brings a bedroom’s worth of furniture – bed, side tables, lamps, and an all-important reader’s rocking chair – to public parks, where they invite passers-by into the surreal scene to listen to stories by local independent writers and even take the occasional nap. Erica and Amy want to take the project out of Southeast and into all 5 quadrants of Portland, and possibly beyond! This is keeping Portland weird at it’s finest.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award went to Kiki Prottsman of Thinkersmith for the 1 Hour of Code project, which will send 150 local tech volunteers into K-12 classrooms to teach the fundamentals of computer science. We’ll be needing a few more computer scientists in the future, and this project wants to start them young and make it fun!

We’d like to send out huge thanks to all our awesome finalists:

• Ballet dancer and teacher extraordinaire Renee Meiffren who wants to bring ballet into low income schools,

• KBOO contributor Ren Green, who rocked the stage in a stylin’ bear onesie in service of of “Pledge Drive: The Musical!” – a musical about pledge drives (obvy…) in the spirit of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog,

• and writer and bee crusader Catherine Garvin’s Hope for the Honey Bee project, a baseline study of Portland bee habitat.

And huge thanks to Oregon Public House, the perfect place to have our 10th (double digits, baby!) grant party and to Stephen M. Sauer who kept the crowd mightily entertained with songs both practiced and improvised (next hit single: “You’ve got 3 minutes to grab a drink”).

Our next grant: NEXT YEAR! Dates for January are coming soon. (Pro tip: the holidays are a great time to ponder what cool and kooky things you might like to bring to Portland in 2014!)

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