Next application deadline: December 31

Awesome Tampa Bay is an independent self-funded community dedicated to furthering the Awesomeness of the Tampa Bay area by giving out $1,000 grants for things that are, well, awesome. These microgrants are provided quarterly with no strings attached and no claims to ownership over the projects it supports. Apply Now!

Funded Projects

TiffanyRazzano Florida Bookstore Day (2014)
Tiffany Razzano’s literary event series, Wordier Than Thou, received support for the first annual Florida Bookstore Day, scheduled for November 15, 2014. Read more about Tiffany’s project and Tampa Bay’s burgeoning literary scene in Creative Loafing. Photo by Chip Weiner.
uc_pong_1 Pong In the Park (2014)
The Urban Conga’s Ryan Swanson will create Pong In the Park, a permanent steel ping-pong table for free public use in Lykes Gaslight Square Park in downtown Tampa. Paddles and balls available at Urban Juice (510 N Franklin St) with $10 deposit. Read more at Tampa Downtown Partnership, ABC Action News, and 83DegreesMedia.
grant 6 - GMF Gasparilla Music Festival (Grant #6)
The Gasparilla Music Festival received the first Awesome Tampa Bay microgrant for 2013. Awesome Tampa Bay sponsored a stage for bands at Tibbetts’ Corner during the festival.
Read more about the event in Creative Loafing.
grant 5 - Art Machine
Art Vending Machine (Grant #5)
Daniel Markovich is bringing art to the public with his art vending machines. He makes use of old sticker vending machines and instead include prints, sticker art and photography from local artists.
Learn more about Daniel’s project in 83DegreesMedia.
grant 4 - AbleNook AbleNook (Grant #4)
AbleNook is a project of Ybor City Architect Sean Verdecia. The collapsible, easy-to-build dwelling units are a humanitarian solution fit for providing housing after natural disasters, expansions and even small medical facilities.
Learn more about Daniel’s AbleNook in the Tampa Bay Times.
Bomb the Medians (Grant #3)
Bomb the Medians is a project of Ken Cowart. That is, use flower seed bombs to plant flowers along Tampa’s major corridors and primarily at those long red-lights; giving the citizens of Tampa an opportunity to stop and smell the flowers.
Check out an article on Ken in the Tampa Bay Times.
A Reflection to Peace of Mind (Grant #2)
A Reflection to Peace of Mind is a project of Sylvia Albritton, a former teacher who came out of retirement to work with incarcerated youth. She uses creative writing and poetry as a way towards reconciliation and rehabilitation. She got $1,000 to publish a bound anthology of student work for use as a teaching tool.
Check out an article on Sylvia in 83DegreesMedia.
The Birdhouse Buying Club (Grant #1)
The Birdhouse Buying Club is a project designed to make it easier for residents in the low-income neighborhood of Sulpher Springs to get fresh, affordable, locally grown produce. Learn more in the Tampa Bay Times.


Dean of Awesomeness


Rafaela A. Amador

Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Tampa Bay Rays

Trustees of Awesomeness

Christine Burdick

President, Tampa Downtown Partnership

Justin Clark

Vice President, Cigar City Brewing

Diane Egner

Publisher & Managing Editor, 83 Degrees Media

Bob Devin Jones

Artistic Director, The Studio@620

Tamara Joseph

Administrative Assistant, Tucker/Hall

Jayant Rao

Emergency Physician, St. Joseph’s Hospital

Katie Rief

Fourth Grade Teacher, St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School

Nancy Vaughn

Principal, PR Marketing Director, White Book Agency

Megan Voeller

Associate Curator of Education, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum


Is this for real?


How does it work?

Awesome Tampa Bay is the Tampa Bay area chapter of the Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation has chapters that are divided by geography and more recently by topic of interest.

Submissions are made through our application form. The Trustees of Awesomeness meet monthly to select project finalists and invite them to pitch their ideas at a “Shark Tank” style pitch session the following month. By consensus, trustees determine which project to fund at each “Shark Tank,” and a $1,000 grant is distributed on the spot.

Is this a loan/investment?

No. It is a grant with no strings attached. We do not claim any ownership or future claims on your project, nor do we wish for the funds to be repaid.

Great! Who can apply?

Awesome Tampa Bay is open to all people and organizations who want to do awesome things in the Tampa Bay area. There are no prerequisites to apply (beyond, of course, being awesome).

How do I apply?

You can apply online here. The application is straightforward and will require around 15 minutes to complete. Because of the volume of applications, we cannot personally respond to each application individually. But you will receive a super friendly autoreply in your inbox that lets you know the application was accepted by our system.

What have you funded in the past?

You can find descriptions of our previous grant recipients on this website.

Is there anything you don’t typically fund?

While Awesome Tampa Bay keeps an open mind about projects, we have found that there are generally a few types of submissions that we are less willing to fund. However, these are just guidelines. If you think we would be interested in your awesome project even if it flirts with one of these types, there’s no penalty for submitting anyway!

1) Purchases for personal use. We think you’re really awesome, but we’re probably not going to just give you $1000 for a car/vacation/rent payment/pony/website/business expense… Unless it’s the crucial component of a bigger project that also benefits others!

2) Maintenance fees for established charities and foundations. While we may support the goals of your established organization, we are primarily interested in funding projects or new ventures and not the continuation of an existing organization. If your organization/foundation/charity still wants to apply, think of a specific, creative ~$1000 project that our money could go directly towards!

3) Vague causes and applications. The more specific you are in your application about what you’ll use the money for and why, the more likely we are to fund it!

Okay, so, what’s awesome?

Awesome projects are not strictly defined but tend to challenge and expand our understanding of our individual and communal potentials. They bring communities together, casting aside social inhibitions and boundaries for a moment. They spark an instant of joy and delight and inspire a long-term hope for a more awesome future.
Rich Cooper, from AF Toronto, has put together a phenomenal list that we think helps define what is awesome:
1. Newness – Is this idea totally new?
2. Niceness – Is this idea one that makes people happy or helps people?
3. Bigness/Inclusion – Potential to reach many people – Can anybody join?
4. Hilarity – Does it make us laugh?
5. Wow-ness – Does it make us say “Holy crap, that’s awesome”?
6. Utility – Does the $1000 make the difference between the project happening or not?
7. Value – Is the Awesome Foundation getting real “Bang for its buck”?
8. Staying Power – Can the project endure? Will it start a movement, an annual event?
9. Environmental Impact – Needless waste is not awesome.

Can I be a trustee?

We currently have all the Trustees we need but if you are interested in participating should a position become available, please send us an email at awesometampabay [at] gmail [dot] com.
Contribution: Commit $500 annually in the interest of Awesome.
Participation: To play an active role in accepting applications and collectively deciding who receives grants at our monthly meetings. Succession: To commit to finding a replacement trustee, should you need to back out of the obligation of being a trustee of Awesome Tampa Bay. Trustees serve life terms until they resign, lapse in participation or are otherwise incapacitated.


What is the Awesome Foundation?

“The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences is an ever-growing, worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe.
Created in the long hot summer days of 2009 in Boston, the Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is given upfront in cash, check, or gold doubloons by groups of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees,” who form autonomous chapters around geographic areas or topics of interest.The Foundation provides these grants with no strings attached and claims no ownership over the projects it supports. It is, in the words of one of our trustees, a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance. Since its humble beginnings, many Awesome Foundation chapters have sprung up globally to conserve, sustain, and support the worldwide ecosystem of awesomeness. Projects have included efforts in a wide range of areas including technology, arts, social good, and beyond.”

How are you guys funded?

The Awesome Foundation is an entirely independent and self-funded community. Each group of trustees forms a chapter of the Awesome Foundation. Each trustee within those chapters agrees to personally commit to contributing $100 each month to form the single $1,000 grant.

Who are you, and how are chapters organized?

Awesome Foundation trustees are a diverse bunch from a variety of different fields and backgrounds, linked by a common purpose to foster a dynamic of ecosystem of awesomeness. Most chapters also have an appointed “Dean of Awesome,” who serves as a trustee and is responsible for the logistical needs of the chapter. That person will typically be your local point of contact if you want to know more about the Foundation, events or proposals. Since each chapter operates autonomously, local rules will also affect the timing, award amounts, requirements, and other logistics of individual chapters.


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