Back in December we opened the first call for the Awesome Foundation Berlin. We received over 40 applications of truly awesome ideas, and after much wine and deliberation, we announced the winner at a yummy breakfast served up in betahaus.
Konrad received the inaugural 1000EUR in a brown paper bag for his concept: a winter thrill-ride on a sled. One of the Foundation’s trustees, Gabriel Maria Platt, proposed a possible course inspired no doubt from one very memorable ride in his hometown.
Alas, the wintery blanket of snow melted before this dream could be a reality. Nevertheless, Konrad put the funds to good, awesome use. He rented skates, bought some rations, and bussed a group of folks out to skate along a frozen forest. It’s an incredible landscape. Trees bursting out of the ice, and you can see skaters pirouetting around the trunks and peering through the transparent sheet below to see the tangle of roots and leaves. Quite beautiful.
But perhaps the most exciting outcome from our first grant is that so many people were inspired by the model. Around ten more individuals offered to join us in contributing their own money to support awesome projects in Berlin. Although we initially decided to hold the grants every quarter, the new group of trustees will take on another cycle and hand out 1000EUR cash in months that we don’t. Also, other initiatives like the Emergence Collective picked up on the scheme and developed a peer-grant program as well.
The most promising outcome of the Awesome Foundation is indeed its simplicity and replicability — what can peer-funding projects teach more established institutions about distributing resources and supporting culture, innovation, and overall awesomeness? Can we influence cities and public bodies to think more creatively about handing out cash? And can more people be encouraged to think about projects they’d like to fund and develop models to make it happen?