San Francisco, CA

About Us

Hi World! We're the San Francisco chapter. We love sparking discussion, action, participation (particularly in our local region).

Those ⤴ are the projects we've funded. Click (or side-scroll) through the image strip! This is the best way to understand what we fund. Prod an image to read about that project.

COVID-19-RELATED PROPOSALS As our community faces this pandemic, our chapter will prioritize crisis-related proposals. If you have a novel idea to create more awesome for this novel time, we encourage you to submit it! Please brainstorm with your pals.

BLACK LIVES MATTER We encourage applications from BIPOC individuals, and projects that highlight BIPOC voices and audiences.

Who should apply for our no-strings-attached grants? Anyone passionate who has read through this text carefully. Yes, carefully.

We give one grant per month. Beginners, small projects and experimenters get preferential treatment. Will $1,000 make all the difference for your project to get started? If you represent an established organization, we probably are not your best backing source. But it depends.

Hint for organizations, nonprofits & ensembles: Describe a highly specific idea that's an experimental side trip and is not whatever you are normally focused on.*

Hint for individuals: Short, raw and personal. Rave about possibility rather than nailing down every detail. Credentials are unimportant. Your inspired self will be great at making your point.

Hint for artists: We love public interactive elements. Be you trying something new. No skill in proposal writing needed. Let loose. Be awkward. Be daring. Be odd.

Hint for events: Apply more than seven weeks ahead to give us time to discuss before your event. If time has got away from you, apply anyway. We may decide to support it, depending on what else we review that month.

Hint for proposals from (or about) outside our region: Please state clearly if you aren't in the Bay Area. Tell us how your project is connected to our region, if it in fact is.

Be playfully ambitious. We like projects that attempt something strange or something important using methods others haven't tried lately. You've got a scheme. Brainstorm, then narrow it down. Think about the wider public. When you explain it to people outside your usual bubble, do they respond with a delighted little dance?

Be informal. We'll fund based on our personal reactions to your creative ambition. That's what we most love knowing.

Be unexpectedly political or wtf whimsical. The world is serious and polarized. Grassroots political creativity is in short supply. We view whimsy as an essential hacking tool and clear messaging as a wake-up call. Tap the genius of the unsuspecting public. Jostle patterns. Stimulate awesome solutions.

As long as anyone is in danger from injustice, violence or ecological crash, as long as anyone faces literal slavery (even here in the Bay Area many farmworkers, sex workers & domestics do), as long as for-profit corporate priorities push sanity aside, as long as parents and children are trained to fear, fit in and stifle their creative urges, more awesome is desperately needed around here.

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Suggestion: Read this page again, from the top, right before you apply.

Who are we? The Awesome Foundation is a DIY operation—clusters of people all around the world, each group pooling and giving a monthly gift. We're not some stuffy organization. Ask us questions or advice. Now. Whenever. Use to reach Joel, SF's 5th Dean of Awesome.

When to apply: Proposals are welcome any time during any month. The grant is decided at our monthly meeting where we look through ideas that came during the previous calendar month. For example, apply in May and it'll be considered and announced in June.

If you like, you may follow us on social media (icons above) but more intimately, the SF chapter also has a friends-of email discussion list. Want to be on it?

Thank you for creating a more awesome world!

*More hints for organizations, ensembles and nonprofits: Match the scale to our cherished $1000 gift. Ignore your past competence and success and focus on this one tiny future unusual project that is unlikely to occur without our $1000. If your project can't fit that description easily, you might not be in our category of interest. But as you see from our past winners, we sometimes break our own patterns and have no rules, so it doesn't hurt to apply.

Meet the Trustees