I Want to Give to Something Awesome
That was the start of an interesting conversation my daughter and I had a couple weeks ago as we were talking about our charitable giving for the rest of this year.
What exactly does “awesome” mean?
Excellent, outstanding, “inspiring awe” … these are a few of the terms I typed into Google on our quest for a charitable project that meets the “awesome” standard.
My daughter and I talked some more, then she went back to her project on the Civil War (16 pages!). I kept Google-ing, reading and thinking. I wrestled with the notion that while we may not have a lot of money to give away, we really want it to count. We want to reach out, make a difference, and be part of something really big, even if we are very small.
I’m sharing just a few of the awesome things I found, and I suggest there is something awesome out there for you to discover as well. Take a risk. You’ll find some excellent, outstanding and inspirational things happening around the globe as well as close to home.
Cash Machines and Charity
Can you imagine going to an ATM machine and giving money away? That had never crossed my mind until I read about a social experiment in the United Kingdom. Without a strong tradition of giving to charity in the UK, the government has sought out ways to encourage small gifts to charity.
This summer more than 12,000 cash machines in the UK are set to allow charitable donations. The Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank Machine will select eight charities, and people using the ATM will be able to make a contribution to one of these causes. They are taking money out, but they can also put money back in to their communities.
People will be able to donate between £1 and £250. Awesome.
I love this concept! The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences got its start in Boston in the summer of 2009. It is a growing world-wide network of people “devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe.”
The Awesome Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. They fund all sorts of efforts in technology, arts, social good and beyond.
The money is pooled together by self-organizing “micro-trustees” and given upfront with no strings attached. One of its trustees described their funding as “a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance.”
All people and organizations can apply, with the only prerequisite of “being awesome.” And anyone can start a chapter! There are now 38 chapters around the world, and I hope there will be one in Louisville soon. I encourage you to visit awesomefoundation.org.
Sunday Soup – a.k.a. PosSOUPbility
Love this. Sunday Soup is a way to fund small creative projects through community meals. A group of people get together to share a meal, and that meal is sold for an affordable price. The income from that meal is given as a grant to support a creative project.
Here in Louisville, we call it PosSOUPbility. Ingredients for the meals are donated or sourced from local farms, restaurants and bakeries. Everyone who attends enjoys a delicious soup-based meal, plus they vote on the idea that they would most like to make a reality.
The first event was back in January at the Water Tower. More than $1,270 was raised, and they were able to support three creative projects. Even better, more than 140 people shared a meal and shared ideas.
The next PosSOUPbility is coming Sunday, June 3 at the Clifton Center. I plan to go - for just $10 I’ll get to enjoy great soup, meet new people and invest in a small but meaningful way.
I can’t wait to get my ballot. Send an email to posSOUPbility@gmail.com to get more information.
No Place Like Home
In my search for awesomeness, I found my way across “the pond,” to Boston and beyond, and then turned right back here to our own “posSOUPbility city.” Awesome.