New foundation looks for "Awesome" projects for city

The new Awesome Foundation Youngstown is accepting proposals for its inaugural $1,000 micro grant for projects in the city of Youngstown.

“We all know how awesome it is to live, work and play in the city of Youngstown,” said R.J. Thompson, a faculty member in the Youngstown State University Department of Graphic + Interactive Design and a founding member of the group.

“The dedicated founders of Awesome Foundation Youngstown want to help those who can make our community even better by offering a $1,000 grant award to an individual or group by utilizing the creative arts and technology as a catalyst for community and economic development.”

The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of “awesome” in the universe, $1,000 at a time. Founded in 2009, the foundation has 85 chapters in 18 countries that have provided nearly $3 million to more than 2,800 projects. Each chapter operates independently, defining what it considers “awesome” projects.

In June, a group of YSU faculty, local entrepreneurs, and community leaders founded the Youngstown chapter.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 8. Applicants should visit

Travel, salaries or living expenses are not eligible for funding. Projects based in the city of Youngstown take priority. Questions can be sent to

Awesome Foundation Youngstown is underwritten by its founding trustees which include YSU faculty members RJ Thompson, YSU, Graphic + Interactive Design, Tim Francisco, Department of English, Jai Jackson, Department of Communications, Peter Norris, Department of Chemistry and Lillian Lewis, Department of Art Education. Additional YSU professional staff includes Leslie Brothers, Executive Director of the McDonough Museum of Art, Julie Michael Smith, Youth Entrepreneurship Coordinator, Dominic J. Marchionda and Nick Chretien, both with Regional Economic Development Initiative and Youngstown Economic Action Group. Youngstown entrepreneur Derrick McDowell, owner, Youngstown Flea and Dominque Howse, Deputy Chief of School Culture & Community Innovation, Youngstown City School District are also founding trustees. The Economic Action Group, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, is the fiscal agent for Awesome Foundation Youngstown.

Anyone can support Awesome Foundation Youngstown by purchasing a t-shirt at or contributing to the Awesome Foundation Youngstown. Contact the foundation at for information.