My friend Shelly Kennedy recently pointed me in the direction of http://awesomefoundation.org/ where they are doing some interesting, and yes, Awesome things. They offer a no-strings-attached thousand dollar grant to people who want to do their own Awesome things.
It was interesting enough that I decided to submit a proposal. This is what I sent (via their online form):
The Little Whatsit Learning Center
Describe yourself, your project, and how you'll pull it off
I'm an author and illustrator of the YA fantasy series, The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica; the author of the motivational/inspirational book for middle schoolers (and everyone else!) called Drawing Out The Dragons; and I'm on the Advisory Board of Nathan Fillion and PJ Haarsma's charity, Kids Need To Read.
I frequently speak at schools and libraries, and so I'm well aware of the difficulties that these organizations are having these days with keeping enough funding coming in to stock the shelves and hire trained personnel to run the facilities.
Using my publishing and public speaking activities as a support base, I plan to start a non-profit reading and tutoring facility for children called The Little Whatsit Leaning Center, where kids will have access to books; receive tutoring in reading; and where they'll be taught how to resolve conflicts peacefully through creative narrative - in other words, they'll write new chapters in their personal stories, and create a more awesome life. All completely free.
How would you use the money?
I have a small commercial property on the main street in the town where I live and work. The grant money would be used for paint and electrical repairs, all done by volunteer labor, so that we can begin turning the property into the first Little Whatsit Learning Center. We have teachers already lined up for the tutoring; donations lined up to start the library; and advisors in place to help formally organize the nonprofit. We just need help cleaning up the place we'd like to use.Whatever their response, I had some plans already going for this - but the grant would certainly help get things started. And it would be both interesting and Awesome if they agree. We'll see what happens! ;)