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The Awesome Foundation passes $500,000 donated and announces March as mega grant month

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 | By Rose Powell

The Awesome Foundation, a worldwide initiative that holds monthly pitching evenings and gives $1000 to the best idea, has passed over half a million US dollars donated.


Every month, 10 chapter members chip in $100 and back the best idea with a $1000 grant. There are no rules how the money is used.


The foundation includes chapters in Melbourne, Sydney and the Victorian town of Maldon.


The Melbourne team is having a “mega grant month” in March and will be giving away $3000.


Chapter member and Learnable product manager Kyle Vermeulen told StartupSmart it was a movement to inspire great ideas and creativity.


“We look for all kinds of different things in the projects we support. Each team member gets excited about different things, so we’ve backed a range of really funky projects so far.”


They’ve previously supported beekeeping facilities on rooves in St Kilda, National Boat Day and helping schools in Kenya.


“$1000 isn’t a whole ton of money but can get some good ideas off the ground,” Vermeulen says.


The Melbourne chapter includes Tamsien West, Judy Anderson, Amantha Imber, Nick Jaffe, Cameron Neil, Rez Intoumos, Bonnie Shaw, Kyle Vermeulen and Julian Waters-Lynch.


Sydney chapter member and Blue Chilli founder and chief executive Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin told StartupSmart it was a great way to give back to the community.


“It’s just so much fun. I deal in venture capital and serious business on a day to day business, so the awesome foundation is a great way to do something light-hearted that makes our city a better place.”


He adds there is no rhyme or reason to the ideas they pick.


“It’s completely random. One guy wanted to buy $1000 worth of Lego to build a replica of Sydney in his garage. It didn’t win that night as there was a more awesome idea, but really we just want someone who can make something cool happen with a thousand bucks.”


The Sydney chapter is also commencing its 2014 program this month with the standard $1000 pitch event in March.


Projects backed by the Sydney chapter include a rooftop garden for refugees and asylum seekers, a pop-up ping pong hall and a weekly 80s-themed aerobics night.


The Sydney chapter includes Claudia Barriga-Larravierre, Melinda Garcia, Tom Butlin, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, Suzie Graham, Steve Hopkins, Kim McKay, Nicholas Melville, Doug Millen, Avis Mulhall, Marcus Ross and Claire Salvetti.