Remember that Monorail rave idea we mentioned over here? Well, we’ve discovered a group of people that might just financially back such a plan – and it’s not the Ibrahims. We’re talking about a $1,000, no strings attached, tax-free grant for a creative event, gadget, art or business idea. Sounds awesome, right?
The group of people that is dishing out these financial boosts is known, appropriately, as the Awesome Foundation. And it doesn’t just exist in Sydney. There are currently 36 Awesome Foundation chapters in cities around the world.
Bruno Mattarollo, one of the founders of Sydney's Awesome Foundation and owner of product management app Road.ly, caught wind of the concept via the Melbourne chapter. “I was chatting to Ross Hill, one of the founders in Melbourne,” Mattarollo explains. “He mentioned what they were doing and some of the projects they’d funded and it immediately came to my mind that Sydney needed a chapter to unearth some of this city’s great ideas.”
In March last year, Mattarollo rounded up a crew of nine other interested Sydney professionals, working in varying roles across public health, advertising and the digital space. To date they have funded the Greens Ban Art Walk and Map by the team behind Woolloomooloo's Big Fag Press, Physique Aerobics and the Oxford Street Design Store – all awesome ideas that have already graced the pages of Time Out.
The Awesome team are particularly interested in multidisciplinary projects that might slip through the cracks of more specific arts or scientific research grant opportunities. "We funded this really interesting research project for a COFA student who was trying to work out how to teach kids with autism. He was developing a small electronic device that reordered and responded to the child’s moods and actions.”
Awesome is a hard property to quantify, so how do Mattarollo and co do it? “We are attracted to ideas that will be completely transformative for a community,” he says. “It might be a novel approach to art, or a magazine that will expose things that aren’t cool from a commercial perspective, but are interesting from a cultural point of view. We also want ideas that will appeal to other people who will be inspired to come up with more awesome projects to transform the world.”
Submit an idea at the Awesome Foundation website, or catch the Awesome Foundation model in action at Awesome Soup, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks 2000. 7pm. $32.15. Sat Jun 2.