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Next grant deadline: Sunday, July 21st

Have an idea to make DC more awesome? Watch this grant applicant guide, read our example grant guide, and apply for a $1,000 grant!
(Fysa, upcoming future monthly grant deadline: September 15, 2024.)

What is Awesome Foundation DC?

We are a giving circle collective of DC residents who help fund a wide spectrum of amazing arts, culture, and community experiences, ranging from the founding Funk Parade to the Indiana Jones and The Alley of Doom to seed-bombing Capitol Hill to DC Bike Party's Sound Bike to Hand-Dancing, a DC-originated style of Swing dancing to skateboarding Santa Clauses to recycled flower arrangements for senior centers, community groups and low-income housing to community hackathons to youth literacy programs at local laundromats to community gardens to human-dog communication training workshops to Floor Charts tracking Congressional charts (so DC!).

Our group and grant winners have been featured in The New York Times, The BBC, NPR, WAMU, 730DC, The Hill Rag, Fox 5, Brightest Young Things, PBS Newshour, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, DCist, Washington City Paper, ABC 7, Brightest Young Things (again!), DCist (again!), Capitol Hill Rag, CBS WUSA 9, Washingtonian, Washington City Paper (again!), Advancing Philanthropy Magazine, DC Inno, Brightest Young Things, Petworth News, East of the River News, Washington Post (again!), Congress Heights on the Rise, and at Creative Mornings DC.

We are entirely volunteer-run and self-funded from Trustees and use the following four evaluation criteria for funding projects that help the city of Washington DC be more awesome. Any grant applicant should answer and address these four areas:

  • #1 - Is it awesome? (Is it unique? Interesting? Impactful? There's all sorts of types of awesome.)
  • #2 - Does it directly benefit the city of Washington DC? (We put heavy weight on supporting our tiny city/state and the awesomeness within. Fyi, there are Awesome North Virginia and Baltimore chapters, so if your project is focused on those regions you might consider applying there.)
  • #3 - Will $1,000 make an actual impact? (Some organizations are super-well funded so we focus on helping individuals and small groups to fund new, small but mighty projects that $1,000 will actually make a difference.)
  • #4 - Is it immediately actionable? (Similar to the actual impact, we heavily prefer projects that are a month or two away, so that the money can create immediate awesome impact in the community. If your project is a year away, wait to apply for a better chance at getting the grant.)

We also created quick video guide to help you apply for a grant:

Background Information, Grant & Trustee Guides and Frequently Asked Questions:

Love what we are doing and want to support the group?

We are an entirely volunteer-driven organization and completely self-funded by trustees' own money. In previous years, we've run audit of all of our finances and grants and found that our operating expenses are a mere 3.3% overhead (mainly spent on bank fees, our domain name and a batch of stickers we ordered to promote the group). That means 96.7% of all money that comes into the Awesome Foundation DC goes directly to funding grants in the community. This is pretty much unheard of in the nonprofit world. Want to help us fund more grants? There are many ways you can participate:

Connect with us on social media to learn more about grant deadlines, awards & Awesome projects in DC:

Background info on The Awesome Foundation & the DC chapter:

The Awesome Foundation is an international organization with nearly one hundred chapters around the world helping fund community, culture and arts projects that make the world more awesome and unique. Awesome Foundation chapters are entirely volunteer-run and self-funded through trustee donations. The 90+ independent chapters around the world that have have funded more than $5 million in grants globally. The Awesome Foundation holds the semi-annual Awesome Summit, in which all our autonomous chapters share best practices and bond with others Awesome folks from around the world. We hosted the Summit in 2017.

The DC Chapter of the Awesome Foundation was founded in 2010 and has given more than $100,000 to the local community for awesome projects. We pick our monthly grant winners usually at the end of each month and notify all applicants after the selection has been made. Here's a map of where our grants have been awarded in DC:

Learn more about the Awesome Foundation DC, from the Founding Dean, Bonnie Shaw (who is now spreading Awesomeness in Australia):

Founded first in Boston in 2009, each Awesome Foundation local chapter distributes monthly $1,000 microgrants, no strings attached, to projects and creators. At each fully autonomous and local chapter, the money is pooled together from the coffers of ten or so self-organizing, volunteer “Trustees” and given in cash to the grant winner each month.

Learn more about the Awesome Foundation vision from the New York trustees on CCTV:

Diversity & Inclusion:

The trustees of the Awesome Foundation DC are committed to supporting and embracing the diversity of the vibrant DC community. We acknowledge we are not as diverse as we should be to represent DC at the moment. While we cap the number of trustees at any given time to make sure the group is manageable, when we have openings for Full Time Trustees, we actively seek out diverse individuals who can commit and contribute to the group. If you or someone you know is interested, please read more about the Trustee experience and different roles in the Trustee FAQ and contact us at DC [at] awesomefoundation.org. Even if no openings are currently available please reach out, we value new, diverse voices in the room and would love to have you as a guest and keep you in the loop when openings are available. We also seek to fund diverse grant proposals and try to fund different projects that will affect large groups from different communities and spread awesome experiences to the diverse populous of Washington D.C. We try to not fund too many of any of the same type of event (for instance, community gardens or several book proposals, etc.) and are working to seek out and identify new grant opportunities in all of DC’s wards. For more grant applicant advice, please see our written guide and watch our video tutorial.

Stupendous Sponsors:

  • Sascha Meinrath, former Full Trustee, Trustee of the Awesome Foundation State College chapter, Founder of the Open Tech Institute, and whose Acorn Active Media Foundation is our fiscal sponsor allowing for tax-deductible donations.

  • Kristin Tracz is an Awesome Foundation DC Floater Trustee AND a Behind the Scenes Trustee sponsoring one of our Full Trustee positions to help us better represent the diversity of the DC community. She grew up in the DMV and is excited to be part of the Awesome Foundation making our DC community even more awesome.

  • Shana Glickfield is a former Awesome Foundation DC Dean and founding Full Trustee, who sponsors one of our Full Trustee positions to help us better represent the diversity of the DC community.

  • Steve Ressler is a DC-based entrepreneur and investor who fervently believes in supporting all things "awesome."

  • Are you interested in helping support Awesome DC as a Behind the Scenes Trustee? Learn more in the Trustee guide or contact us at DC [at] awesomefoundation.org.

DC Chapter Shout Outs:

We'd like to send out a special thank you to Bonnie Shaw, our chapter founder and founding Dean, and Shana Glickfield, Alex Dickinson, and Will Sullivan our longest-lived Deans, each serving more than half a decade, who helped shape AFDC to be the successful, model chapter it is in the Awesome Foundation network and DC philanthropy scene. Also, thanks go to recent past trustees and contributors for their awesome service! We continue to fund and celebrate awesomeness following their example:

  • Charlyn Andersen
  • Martin Austermuhle
  • Alex Barth
  • Sam Bishop
  • Steph Bloch Newman
  • Rob Bole
  • Brad Bosserman
  • Todd Bowers
  • Austin Clemens
  • Claire Corbett
  • Peter Corbett
  • Joel Daly
  • Alex Dickinson
  • Mark Drapeau
  • Johann Ducharme
  • Nick Farina
  • Whitney Fisler
  • Melissa Flagg
  • Vanessa French
  • Abigail Friedman
  • Erin Frisby
  • Dan Gordon
  • Kate Gorman
  • Garlin Gilchrist
  • Shana Glickfield
  • Bill Gray
  • Danny Harris
  • Joanna Hoffschneider
  • Ryan Holladay
  • Julie Hord
  • Max Horwitz
  • Alex Howard
  • Philippa Hughes
  • Shee Shee Jin
  • Gene Keselman
  • Elizabeth LaBerge
  • Jon Long
  • Miriam Magdieli
  • Adam Martin
  • Caroline Martin
  • Laurenellen McCann
  • Sean McDonald
  • Sascha Meinrath
  • Chris Mihm
  • Sarah Miller
  • Erik Moe
  • Amy Morse
  • Ellen Miller
  • Eric Mill
  • Barbara Mullinex
  • Yantee Neufville
  • Caitie Ofiesh
  • Akiba Perry
  • Ari Pollak
  • Karolle Rabarison
  • Marty Ringlein
  • Todd Rudolph
  • Miriam Schwedt
  • Will Sullivan
  • Jessica Teachey
  • Krystal Thomas
  • Frank Tobia
  • Sarah Wald
  • Kali Wasenko
  • Kevin Webb
  • Erica Williams
  • Catharine Young

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