Sit down in any cafe throughout the 94941 – OK, maybe not in the past 10 months – and you’re bound to overhear a conversation about a great idea, either from an entrepreneur or someone hoping to make a difference for those in need.

A group of Mill Valley residents have decided to organize themselves about funding some of those great ideas, launching the Marin chapter of the Awesome Foundation, a worldwide community of donors focused on “forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe.” Created in Boston in 2009, the foundation distributes $1,000 grants, no strings attached, to projects and their creators. At each fully autonomous chapter, the money is pooled together from the coffers of 10 or so self-organizing “micro-trustees” and given doled out.

Mill Valley residents Victoria and Philip Woo opened the Marin Chapter, rallying fellow local residents and friends like Sharon Kramlich, Katrina Kehl and Sandy Onken Fiek, all local real estate agents, as well as architects Antonina Markoff and Bruce Fullerton, among others.

Each participant outs a minimum of $100 per month into a pool. “The idea is that we donate at least $1000 per month to viable projects,” Kramlich says. “Individuals apply for a grant through the website, are we are really looking to fund small businesses in the education or arts that are very community focused. We’re on the hunt for more projects in Mill Valley.”

To date, the Marin chapter has donated to a broad range of businesses and organizations, including Extra Food, Feed the Frontlines, Marin City Boxing, Trips for Kids, Youth in Arts and many more. 

“We try to focus on the most viable business ideas or those that are deemed the most worthy thing,” Kramlich says. “Each month we expect to provide a $1,000 grant to support projects which address educational and/or community needs and are ingenious, creative and collaborative. We aim to spark dialogue, elevate unique opportunities, deepen conversations and provide community-wide benefits.”

If you know of an organization that fits the Awesome Foundation’s ethos, submit for a grant here, or reach out to vic@victoriaw.com with questions.

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