A2Awesome awards grants to support “Small & Mighty” local entrepreneur network, and distribute Michigan Prison Resource Guide

Since we last posted, we’ve awarded two more $1,000 grants toward the creation of awesomeness in the Ann Arbor – Ypsilanti area.

The first of these two cash awards was given to local entrepreneurs Jean Henry (formerly of the Jefferson Market), Lisa Waud (pot & box), and Helen Harding (eat) to help support the continued growth of their grassroots entrepreneur network Small & Mighty. The second was given to Lois DeMott, the co-founder of Citizens for Prison Reform, to assist with the Washtenaw County rollout of their resource guide for individuals entering the Michigan prison system. “With the money that we received from the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation,” says DeMott, “we’ll be able to reach out to everyone who will be entering the Michigan prison system from Washtenaw County, with the offer to share our Resource Guide for Families, Friends and Advocates (PDF). It’s our hope that this will help prisoners, and those who care about them, to better understand the complex system they’re entering, and how to navigate it.”

A2AwesomeCitizensForPrisonReformThe Resource Guide for Families, Friends and Advocates is a 36-page handbook produced by prisoner advocacy group Citizens for Prison Reform. Founded in 2011 by Lois DeMott, a Lansing-area citizen and advocate who, upon the arrest of her son, who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, was shocked to realize just how little publicly available information existed concerning the inner workings of the Michigan prison system. Families of prisoners who suffer from mental illness especially needed resources and ways to advocate for humane treatment. This A2Awesome grant is the first to be received by the organization, which, in March, is scheduled to be featured in a documentary on juveniles in solitary confinement being hosted by Ted Koppel for NBC’s Friday evening program, “Rock Center.” This grant will enable the organization to proactively reach out to those individuals in Washtenaw County entering the Michigan correctional system, making them aware of the Resource Guide, and mailing hard copies to those individuals without internet access. The organization plans to expand the program to serve prisoners and their families statewide and hopes to generate interest from additional Board Members and volunteers.

A2AwesomeSmallMightySmall & Mighty, according to the organization’s co-founder, Jean Henry, is “a collaborative, scrappy little nuts-and-bolts support group for entrepreneurs.” Begun in the fall of 2012, the loose collaborative of local entrepreneurs has already grown to 144 members, and hosts frequent events intended to help small business owners exchange ideas and learn from one another. “Within Small and Mighty,” says Henry, “we can comfortably share our ignorance and failures as well as our successes. We talk ‘learning curve’ all the time. I’m not sure that happens at most ‘networking’ events. Someone at a Small and Mighty gathering brought up the term ‘co-opetition.’ We are committed to each other’s success, even when we’re in the same field. We are focussed on positive relationships with each other, our co-workers, our customers, our community. Because it works. It makes our businesses better. Small businesses can harness a kind of reverse economy of scale when they work together — relationships based on trust and goodwill are more efficient — and a lot less expensive.” The $1,000 A2Awesome grant will allow Small and Mighty to build and cultivate an online presence, and to continue hosting events designed to foster collaborative, nurturing relationships between small, local business owners.

“I think these two grants, when looked at together, really demonstrate just how broad our collective interests are,” said Mark Maynard, the Dean of A2Awesome. “The important thing for us is that these small grants of ours can be leveraged to create a disproportionate amount of awesome, and these two projects are perfect examples of that. In one instance, we have highly motivated entrepreneurs who just need a little bit of seed money in order to formalize the incredible work they’ve already been doing to strengthen our local business ecosystem. And, in the other, we’ve chosen to invest in a group of people who are stepping in and filling a critical void that, at least historically, has been easy for people to dismiss.”

With these two grants, A2Awesome has invested a total of $11,000 in the local community since its inception, making possible everything from an elementary education project involving bike-powered lighting systems to be used for the growing of vegetables, to a history project intended to capture and share the images, stories and music of local jazz musicians.

“What we’ve been able to accomplish with relatively small investments,” says A2Awesome’s newly-elected Co-Chair Linh Song, “is really incredible. Our community is full of motivated, talented and brilliant people who just need a little financial help to their visions off the ground, making the lives of people in our communities even better.” (Song and Tanya Luz were elected co-chairs in January, taking over from Lisa Dengiz, who served as the chapter’s founding chair.)

[note: An interview with Small & Mighty founders Jean Henry, Lisa Waud and Helen Harding can be found at here.]

A2Awesome gives out another $3,000 in grants to brilliant people doing inspiring things in the Ypsi-Arbor area

On October 27, 2012, the Trustees of A2Awesome convened in the secret writing lab behind the Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair store in downtown Ann Arbor, and handed out another $3,000 in cash grants intended to make life the Ypsi-Arbor area more awesome. The cash awards were handed over in brown paper bags to artist Trevor Stone, 826michigan’s Amanda Uhle, and photographer Bill Streety, for projects which they had submitted through the Awesome Foundation’s website for consideration. With these three grants, A2Awesome has invested a total of $9,000 in the local community, making possible everything from an elementary education project involving bike-powered lighting systems to be used for growing vegetables, to a drama program at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility based on the works of William Shakespeare.

A2Awesome Chair Lisa Dengiz had the following to say: “It’s really amazing how many people in our community have brilliant ideas that can be realized with as little as $1,000. When we started this chapter of the Awesome Foundation almost a year ago, we had no idea just how much potential there was. Our grants, among other things, have helped launched Bona Sera Cafe on Michigan Avenue, bringing a renewed sense of vibrancy to downtown Ypsilanti, and put exercise equipment inside Ozone House, improving the lives of local at-risk youth. That’s incredibly gratifying.”

The three individuals/groups who received awards were:

Amanda Uhle on behalf of 826michigan… With their A2Awesome grant, 826michigan will be able, for the first time in four years, to bring the students who participate in their after-school tutoring program at Ypsilanti Middle School to the internationally-recognized non-profit’s creative writing facility (which is secreted behind the Midwest’s leading robot emporium) in Ann Arbor. These field trips will happen several times over the course of the school year. “We’ve made a great deal of progress with these students in the school setting, but we want to go further, and create memorable experiences for them,” says Uhle. “We want to get them out of their schools, where they’ve already been for ten hours, and bring them to this special place that we’ve created. We want them to know that a place like this exists.”

Spontaneous Art (Comprised of Natalie Berry, Chris Sandon and Trevor Stone)… With their A2Awesome grant, the Spontaneous Art team will set out on a Washtenaw County Tour. Performing regularly at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the group, which is known for creating humorous and approachable interactive performances for the public, rarely has the opportunity to share their work in the greater Ann Arbor area. With the A2Awesome grant, they will be able to engage people in Chelsea, Dexter, Saline, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. They hope their surprise visits to these communities, will not just bring joy and laughter, but create environments where sincere interpersonal connections can flourish.

Bill Streety / Ypsi-Arbor Unsung Musical Heroes… With his $1,000 grant, Bill Streety, a past president of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, will photograph and interview at least 40 area jazz and blues musicians, both young and old, as a way of documenting the musical activity taking place in our community today. The results will be self-published in book form (both digital and print), of which approximately 65 copies will be distributed to Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor school libraries. “With the shrinking educational budgets and the reduction in funding for the creative arts,” says Streety, “I see this as a way to preserve a piece of our shared history.”

And it’s kind of shaky, as A2Awesome’s Dean was eating cupcakes as he was shooting, but here are links to video of the three recipients talking about their projects, which, thanks to these mini grants, will soon be coming to fruition.

Spontaneous Art Awesome

Unsung Musical Heroes Awesome

826 Awesome

A2Awesome, which is composed of 13 individuals, including yours truly, is organized under the banner of the Boston-based Awesome Foundation. The stated purpose of the local Ypsi-Arbor chapter is to provide seed funding for innovative, inspiring, and awesome projects envisioned by fellow community members that might not otherwise evolve into being. The organization intends to make one grant a month for the foreseeable future. All grants will be in the amount of $1,000.

Those with creative, inspired ideas are encouraged to apply for a grant online. Grant deadlines are on the last day of each month.

Every month, chapter trustees contribute their own personal funds toward a $1,000, no-strings-attached grant to an awesome project that promises to make life better. In addition to Dengiz and Maynard, the group includes Dick Soble, Paul Saginaw, Jeff Meyers, Linh Song, Heather MacKenzie, Monique Deschaine, Hans Masing, Alice Liberson, Omari Rush, Tanya Luz and Larry Grant.

NOTE: AnnArbor.com’s coverage of this month’s awards can be found here.

Created in 2009, in Boston, the Awesome Foundation now has chapters in 57 cities across the globe. In addition to the Ypsi-Arbor chapter, there are Awesome Foundation outposts in both Detroit and Grand Rapids. Projects funded have included efforts in a wide range of areas including technology, arts, social good, and beyond.

A2Awesome awards $1,000 to Syncytium for the construction of an enormous geodesic dome

Today, the trustees of A2Awesome handed over $1,000 in cast to Amanda Sari Perez, a co-founder of Syncytium, which is an open group dedicated to creating large-scale, interactive art in the Ann Arbor and Detroit communities. The funds will be used to complete the construction of a 16 foot (radius) geodesic dome out of 1.5 inch thick electrical conduit. The structure, according to Perez, is intended to serve as a platform on which others in the community can express their creativity. “The dome will be deployed at A2 Maker Faire, Detroit Maker Faire, Figment, and Lakes of Fire – all of which are local events that support creativity and community, and celebrate the arts, and DIY building,” says Perez. “And I want it to be readily available for others in the Ann Arbor area, who have the space to host it, and creative ideas concerning how to use it.”

Among other things, Syncytium plans to stretch cargo netting across the inside of the dome and use it as a jungle gym, and cover it with lights, using it as a portable shelter for DJs performing in the Detroit area. “Other people,” says Perez, “may want to use it for parties, fundraisers, gatherings, or performances. They may want to hang hammocks or swings inside of it. They may want to cover it in some way, or leave it open.” Ultimately, according to Perez, she would like to see it find a semi-permanent home where it could exist as a giant instrument, filled with cords that would trigger sound, either electronically or mechanically, when tugged or clambered upon.

According to A2Awesome Board Member, Linh Song, Perez’s dome project was chosen as this month’s recipient, because “It’s the kind of thing that could continue to foster awesomeness for years to come. Not only will people be able to play on it at Maker Faire, which is awesome in its own right, but it’ll exist as an easily-transportable cultural asset that could be used in hundreds of different ways. We’re excited to see how it inspires people. The potential is endless.”

A2Awesome awards $1,000 to Bona Sera for the opening of an Ypsilanti cafe

We met this morning and awarded our third grant, in the amount of $1,000, to the incredible women behind the Bona Sera Supper Club… Here’s our press release:

The Trustees of the micro-philanthropic group A2Awesome today awarded their third $1,000 grant toward the creation of awesomeness in the Ann Arbor – Ypsilanti area. The funds were handed over, in a brown paper bag, to a representative of the Bona Sera Supper Club, an underground organization that has, over the past three years, raised over $20,000 for area nonprofits, by hosting clandestine dinner parties in secret locations across Southeast Michigan. The money will allow the organization to acquire a Food Establishment License, and move forward with plans to open a 50-seat cafe in Ypsilanti’s historic Kresge Building, and the intersection of Michigan Avenue and North Washington Street.

This new, “above ground,” for-profit cafe, according to Bona Sera’s founders, who call themselves Bad Fairy and Wonder Woman, will not only create jobs in Ypsilanti, and draw more people downtown, but allow the organization to continue its charitable work as well. “We have grown the underground side of our business to the point where we really needed to start operating out of a licensed, commercial kitchen, and this will allow us to do that,” said Bad Fairy. “The kitchen of the new Bona Sera Cafe will also be available to other local food industry start-ups for affordable rates,” said Bad Fairy, “as a way of encouraging and supporting other entrepreneurs.”

According to A2Awesome Board Member, Monique Deschaine, Bona Sera was chosen as this month’s recipient, because “It’s the type of endeavor that blends everything The Awesome Foundation appreciates—creative, talented people doing something unique that benefits our local community and has potential for growth. Awesomely delicious!”

This is the third grant to be awarded by A2Awesome. The first grant was given to Nathan Ayers, of Ann Arbor, who is presently using his award to build two bike-powered vegetable grow racks, which will be used in the K-12 science classes that he teaches in Ann Arbor and Detroit. (According to Ayers, his intention is to create a closed loop system to demonstrate the principles of permaculture – a design and engineering philosophy based on ecology, which has as its objective the creation of sustainable food, energy and community infrastructure systems.) The second grant was awarded to Ozone House, for the creation of an in-house gym facility for the at-risk youth with whom they work.

A2 Awesome, which is composed of 13 individuals, is organized under the banner of the Boston-based Awesome Foundation. The stated purpose of the local group, according to chairwoman Lisa Dengiz is, “to provide streamlined seed funding for creative folks and projects that bring spirit, wonder and awesomeness to our local community.” The organization intends to make one grant a month for the foreseeable future. All grants will be in the amount of $1,000.

Those with creative, inspired ideas are encouraged to apply for the grant online. Grant deadlines are on the last day of each month.

“If we’re going to solve the problems that are facing us as a community, we’re going to have to be creative, and we’re going to have to do it ourselves. A2Awesome is looking for investment opportunities where a relatively small amount of money can be leveraged to make really meaningful positive change over time,” said Mark Maynard, a trustee of the group.

Every month, chapter trustees contribute their own personal funds toward a $1,000, no-strings-attached grant to an awesome project that promises to make life better. In addition to Dengiz and Maynard, the group includes Dick Soble, Paul Saginaw, Jeff Meyers, Linh Song, Heather MacKenzie, Monique Deschaine, Hans Masing, Alice Liberson, Omari Rush, Tanya Luz and Larry Grant.

Created in 2009 in Boston, the Awesome Foundation now has chapters in over 30 cities across the globe. In addition to the new Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti chapter, there are Awesome Foundation outposts in both Detroit and Grand Rapids. Projects funded have included efforts in a wide range of areas including technology, arts, social good, and beyond.

[Photo caption: A2Awesome Trustees Heather MacKenzie, Monique Deschaine, Larry Gant and Mark Maynard, present a bag containing $1,000 to Bona Sera's secretive founders, Bad Fairy and Wonder Woman.]

All people with great, inspiring ideas are encouraged to submit their proposals here.

March 2012 Grant – Ozone House

The Trustees of the micro-philanthropic group A2Awesome today awarded their second $1,000 grant toward the creation of awesomeness in the Ann Arbor – Ypsilanti area. The funds were handed over, in a brown paper bag, to Quinn Phillips, a representative of Ozone House, a community-based nonprofit which provides shelter and other critical services for runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. Phillips had submitted an Awesome Foundation grant application, requesting funds to build a youth fitness room in the basement of Ozone House’s central facility in Ann Arbor. The $1,000 will be used to acquire a treadmill, stationary bike, dumbbell set, yoga equipment, gym mat, heavy bag and speed bag.

“Our young clients are facing an overwhelming number of challenges,” said Phillips. “This often leads to stress, anger and depression. It is amazing to see how quickly their moods can improve when they have opportunities for physical activities that they enjoy. These are kids who could never afford to take a fitness class, or become a member of a gym. Before coming to Ozone House, they often lack access to nutritious food, and positive recreational activities. Having our own workout space is a wonderful opportunity to let youth blow off some steam in a place where they will be safe and supported. With this space, we’ll be able to bring in local trainers and experts to teach the kids exercise and self-defense techniques.”

This is the second grant to be awarded by the group. The first grant was given to Nathan Ayers, of Ann Arbor, who is presently using his award to build two bike-powered vegetable grow racks, which will be used in the K-12 science classes that he teaches in Ann Arbor and Detroit. According to Ayers, his intention is to create a closed loop system to demonstrate the principles of permaculture – a design and engineering philosophy based on ecology, which has as its objective the creation of sustainable food, energy and community infrastructure systems.

The award to Ozone House, according A2Awesome Trustee Linh Song, was chosen because, of all the ideas submitted, it offered the most payback in terms of local awesome. “I was really pleased to see the group choose Ozone House’s project,” said Song. “They’re making a direct and immediate impact on our community by helping youth in crisis feel awesome.” In addition to the cash award, three A2Awesome Trustees came forward with individual donations, and ideas as to how better to leverage the $1,000 award. Song, for instance, was able to arrange for the donation of a treadmill, allowing for the cash award to go even further.

A2 Awesome, which is composed of 13 individuals, is organized under the banner of the Boston-based Awesome Foundation. The stated purpose of the local group, according to chairwoman Lisa Dengiz is, “ to provide streamlined seed funding for creative folks and projects that bring spirit, wonder and awesomeness to our local community.” The organization intends to make one grant a month for the foreseeable future. All grants will be in the amount of $1,000.

Those with creative, inspired ideas are encouraged to apply for the grant online. Grant deadlines are on the last day of each month.

“There’s a sense that, if we’re going to solve the problems that are facing us as a community, we’re going to have to be creative, and we’re going to have to do it ourselves. A2Awesome is looking for investment opportunities where a relatively small amount of money can be leveraged to make really meaningful positive change over time,” said Mark Maynard, a trustee of the group.

Every month, chapter trustees contribute their own personal funds toward a $1,000, no-strings-attached grant to an awesome project that promises to make life better. In addition to Dengiz and Maynard, the group includes Dick Soble, Paul Saginaw, Jeff Meyers, Linh Song, Heather MacKenzie, Monique Deschaine, Hans Masing, Alice Liberson, Omari Rush, Tanya Luz and Larry Grant.

Created in 2009 in Boston, the Awesome Foundation now has chapters in over 30 cities across the globe. In addition to the new Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti chapter, there are Awesome Foundation outposts in both Detroit and Grand Rapids. Projects funded have included efforts in a wide range of areas including technology, arts, social good, and beyond.

All people with great, inspiring ideas are encouraged to submit their proposals here.

For information on Ozone House, please visit their website.

[Photo caption: A2Awesome Trustees Omari Rush, Linh Song and Hans Masing, present a bag containing $1,000 to Ozone House’s Quinn Phillips.]

Congratulations to Nathan Ayers!

This morning we handed over our first $1,000 grant!

The funds were given, in a brown paper bag, to Nathan Ayers, of Ann Arbor, who will be using the money to construct two bike-powered vegetable grow racks, which will be used in the K-12 science classes he teaches in Ann Arbor and Detroit. According to Ayers, the intention is to create a closed loop system to demonstrate the principles of permaculture – a design and engineering philosophy based on ecology, which has as its objective the creation of sustainable food, energy and community infrastructure systems.

Ayers explains it as follows… “In this system, the human rides the bike, the bike produces energy, the energy powers the LED grow light, the grow light produces food, the human eats the food and has the energy needed to again ride the bike. Its a set of relationships that form a complete circle, which are all dependent on each other to function.”

Ayers hopes to use the funds to have the first bike built by April, so that he, and his students, can begin sprouting plants in early spring.

Here, for those who are interested in knowing more about Nathan’s project, is a brief interview that our trustee Mark Maynard conducted with him a few days ago.

MARK: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

NATHAN: Born and raised in Ann Arbor, I had a lot of great teachers, mentors and exposure to important things like music, art, film and critical thinking. As a kid, I played outside a lot and fell in love with nature. I did not have an affinity for science or math or anything like that growing up. I was in funk bands and played water polo in high school. I went to Indiana University and bounced around the roulette wheel of majors until I landed in Sociology, studying race and socio-economic systems. I got into activism through music while in college, and helped start the Hip Hop Congress. At IU, I also got real into self-sufficiency and alternative energy. This was around Y2K, and I think that maybe spooked me, but I was super fascinated with being able to live and thrive in nature. I started reading schematics for suitcase sized solar panel systems and portable power. After college, I traveled around, living in Australia and Sweden for a bit, and saw some really good examples of healthy and happy people and cultures. I eventually came back to Ann arbor around 2005 and began working for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. This was right when Michigan’s economy was really starting to tank (hey, at least we were first in something). My sociology degree didn’t mean much and I was originally hired as a lunch room supervisor. Within a couple months, a job opened up as a special needs paraprofessional and that’s what I did for about 4 years. I loved my time working in the schools, amazing people, kids and co-workers. During this time, I also went back to school and obtained certifications in solar photovoltaics and organic agriculture. I got a bit active around Ann Arbor’s green scene and helped start the now defunct Transition Ann Arbor. Through Transition Towns, I was introduced to Permaculture, – a design and engineering system based on the science of ecology. The philosophies and principles of a design school focused on integrating humanity’s food, energy and infrastructure with natural ecosystems and patterns was beyond inspiring. So much so that I quit my job and went out to California to take a permaculture design course. During my experience there, I was launched head and hands first into the world of agro-ecology, bio mimicry, appropriate technology and systems thinking, and that’s where my mind’s been ever since. I turned my house into a permaculture/makerspace R&D lab, and in 2011, began teaching permaculture at Washtenaw Community College. Last spring, we started a permaculture research and education company called Chiwara Permaculture, and have several problem based learning projects with K-12 schools and communities in Ann Arbor and Detroit.

MARK: What were the origins of this project? Had you been thinking about this for a while, or did the idea just come to you after hearing that, though A2Awesome, there was funding available for unique, impactful, or otherwise interesting, projects?

NATHAN: I have had the idea for this system for a while, utilizing the LED grow lights and the battery pack, but I’m definitely not the first person to think of amazing and useful things to do with a bicycle. I think we will eventually look back and see the bicycle as one of the most amazing machines humans ever invented. There is so much work that can be done with one, aside from transportation, like grinding grains, washing and drying clothes, pumping water and producing electricity. Permaculture design ultimately creates closed loop feedback mechanisms between systems, and that’s what I tried to do with this food production unit. The human rides the bike, the bike produces energy, the energy powers the grow light, the grow light produces food, the human eats the food, the human is sustained and can again ride the bike. Its a set of relationships that form a complete circle, which are all dependent on each other to function.

MARK: Now I’ve got a technical question. Do you think it’s possible, though a bike-powered generator such as the one you intend to build, to generate the lumens necessary to grow vegetables without natural light? I should add that I think it’s an awesome project regardless, as it will, at the very least, demonstrate to kids just how much power there actually is in sunlight.

NATHAN: I’ve got two answers: Yes and I think so. The ‘lumens necessary to grow vegetables’ are a function of the LED grow light. These LED systems were allegedly developed by NASA as they were researching ways to grow food for extended missions in space, like, to mars. The science they discovered was that many types of vegetative plants only need two wavelengths of color to develop: red and blue. Through the magic of R&D they started making super efficient, high lumen LED grow panels that were red and blue. There are huge indoor commercial growing operations in the Netherlands that are utilizing this technology, and I’ve even grown a few plants with some basic LED panels. So, yes, the indoor growing technology works. Now the “I think so”, and what I think you’re really asking, is whether or not this is a viable system to grow food at home? We know that the max wattage a human can put out on a given bicycle session is around 250 to 300watts. Utilizing 2 bikes, and 2 people pedaling an hour a day, with an interchangeable 2 battery system, our numbers are promising. Like you mentioned, there are a lot of lessons and fields of study embedded into this one design, so the multi-discipline educational prospects in a school setting are real inspiring.

MARK: Now that you have the money, what’s your next step? And just how long do you think that it will take before you have a working system that you and your students can put to use?

NATHAN: We will start acquiring the parts and pieces, assembling the motor and battery components, and then start testing how much wattage we can produce and store. We’ll begin testing different plant stocks for production and caloric numbers. I’m hoping we’ll have a working system with sprouts by April. I’m really excited to have the money to build a proper battery system. The bicycle generator is one of many hybrid systems I’ve thought of, that all power these portable, or what I call “compartmentalized” battery systems.. Funding this project will propel us to think about new and innovative ways to make and store energy at home. If you want a hint at some of the energy systems we’ve been thinking about, I’ve got one word: Drums.

MARK: Where might people see the unit in action once it’s up and running? You mentioned that you’ll likely be using with students in both Detroit and Ann Arbor, is that correct?

NATHAN: Yes, after we get the unit operating and producing, we will then be able to take it to our partner schools in Ann Arbor and Detroit so that students can design and build their own. There are so many areas for learning and research, and I can’t wait to see what kinds of ideas our students come up with. We also plan to post videos and the design schematics for the peddle powered vegetable grow rack on our website, open source style, so people can build and improve upon them. Hopefully it will someday make the rounds at various re-skilling festivals and community sustainability events.

MARK: As our first recipient, do you have any words of encouragement for others that might be thinking about applying.

NATHAN: Yes, DO IT! Get your ideas down on paper. Being able to translate an idea into a great proposal is an extremely valuable skill, something we should be teaching every student how to do. It’s really the art of effective communication. If there is one thing the world needs right now, it is for really good ideas to be effectively communicated and implemented. Thanks to the A2Awesome for helping a new generation of ideas get out there.

We should add that we had a lot of very good applications this first round. If you have an awesome idea, please consider applying for this month’s grant. All you have to do is click here and fill out the submission form to get the ball rolling.

And please share this post with all of your brilliant, creative, and visionary friends in S.E. Michigan. We have money to give, and we’d love to know if there are ambitious, inspiring ideas out there where $1,000 could really make a difference.