Granting schedule update for the end of 2014

Please note that Awesome New Orleans will not be reviewing applications during December 2014 and January 2015, however, applications WILL still be accepted during this time. We look forward to reviewing applications again in the new year and making our next award in February 2015. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Awesome New Orleans is taking a break for the holidays and is currently not reviewing any new applications. We do however, still encourage you to apply any time! We will review all applications when we return in the new year and expect to award our next grant in February 2015. Thank you for your interest in Awesome New Orleans, and have a wonderful holiday season!

December’s AwesomeNOLA Winner: Team Happy Foundation

December’s AwesomeNOLA award was a tough one! We had so many great ideas that deserved to be funded, and we really hope that a lot of folks re-apply so that they can have another chance to receive $1000 to make some fabulous projects happen.

Team Happy Foundation, with founder Happy Johnson, won our December award for his great idea to focus on working with the youth to develop the survival, preparedness and preservation skills.

Happy Johnson accepts his award at WBOK 1230AM Morning Show with Oliver Thomas and producer Lee Hardy

Happy Johnson accepts his award at WBOK 1230AM Morning Show with Oliver Thomas and producer Lee Hardy

You know we love the kids! Read his award winning application below. Remember: it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are or who you represent, what matters is how great your idea is! And how much it will meet our mission of making NOLA a better place.

So, while we won’t be selecting a winner this January, a submission will be chosen first thing in February!

So you have until January 27, 2014 to get those applications in!!

December’s Winning Idea: Preparedness & Wetlands Club

Team Happy Foundation (THF) will utilize a grant from The Awesome Foundation to inspire and equip the next generation of first responders and environmental engineers with fun literary tools to fuel their imagination!Thus, the THF Preparedness & Wetlands Club at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in the Lower 9th Ward will engage 50 elementary school students (second grade) during the Spring Semester and provide them with free educational material and enrichment activities.Each month in the first quarter of FY2014, 50 students will receive one new, age-appropriate children’s picture book (paperback) from the Children’s Publishing Division of THF.The combination of our read-alouds are uniquely and creatively based on the Multiple Lines of Defense Model, which identifies wetlands as our first natural line of defense against storm surge – in conjunction with individual and community preparedness planning.

Students are asked to submit a one-page handwritten book report (4 sentence minimum) and on the back of the same page, illustrate their favorite idea about the story!

The aforementioned assignments will enhance their final journal entry: a 6-step action plan on how they will help their community become more prepared for hurricane season and also, how they will become advocates for the environmental restoration of wetlands in Southeast Louisiana (3 steps for each concept).

Wednesday, January 15, 1:30-2:30p – 50 students receive The Adventures of Happy & Big Wanda. * Author reads, signs and disseminates books; explains club goals; 30mins for each separate class of 25 students. Wednesday, January 29 – book reports and illustrations are collected and picked up.

Wednesday, February 13, 1:30-2:30p – 50 students receive Fearless Delta Fox. * Hour is spent same as above. Wednesday, February 27 – book reports and illustrations are collected and picked up.

Wednesday, March 13, 1:30-3:00p – 50 students receive Backyard Bayou. * Students will receive books at urban wetlands field trip. Wednesday, March 27 – book reports, illustrations and 6-step action plans are collected/picked up.

The club’s culminating story time and book dissemination will take place during a field trip to the Viewing Platform of Bayou Bienvenue’s Wetland Triangle at the corner of Caffin and Florida Avenue. Students will hear from wildlife experts and see firsthand many of the lessons highlighted throughout the collection of books. Before departing campus for the field trip, students will watch a 20minute documentary titled Bayou Sundance produced by L9 Center for Sustainable Development and Engagement, which focuses on the urban bayou in the city’s backyard!



Take A Professional to School Day: November’s Awesome Grant Winners

Holding their winning check at the Central City Fest

NOLA Black Professionals holding their winning check at the Central City Fest

This month’s Awesome New Orleans grant winners are NOLA Black Professionals for their project:

Take a Professional To School Day

Check out her idea:

After launching, I got the crazy idea to remix Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. So I gather professionals of all races together and we take over a school. It’s not like your normal boring Career Day. We dress like ourselves, we talk to the kids in a relatable manner, we invite a local DJ to provide music during our lunch session and then we allow the kids to ask us questions at the end of the day. I wanted to create something dope that the students would like and appreciate.

NOLA Black Professionals Talk about Take a Professional to School Day

October is Awesome for NOLA Community Media Center!



We were honored to award $1000 to Desiree Evans of the New Orleans Community Media Center.

Check out her award winning application, and then apply here:

A little about me:

Born and raised in South Louisiana, I have a diverse background in journalism, community advocacy, and non-profit work in the region. During the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work with numerous organizations in the media and nonprofit sectors, striving to create media that provides a range of information, perspectives and points of view to propel our communities to local and international awareness and informed decision-making. I have learned that the media can be a powerful tool.

Here’s my idea:

I am requesting a grant to fund the first community-media workshop from the New Orleans Center for Community Media. The workshop will take place over the course of four Saturdays. Facilitated by two teaching media artists, and attended by ten community members, the workshop will cover the basics of storytelling and interviewing, and it will include an introduction to multimedia tools. Participants will work in groups to create a short reporting piece covering an issue in their neighborhood.

The Current Context

New Orleans is a city where stories hold power. But not every community has access to the tools that would allow them to communicate their stories in the steadily shifting media landscape. There are still many barriers to media engagement, particularly for low-income communities of color.

The Vision: Storytelling for Transformation

The New Orleans Center for Community Media is a start-up media training and resource center supporting community-based and grassroots media production aimed at elevating the voices of communities across the city. Our work is centered in bringing communication tools to underserved populations, providing these communities with the media production technology and resources to tell, document, and preserve their own stories and the stories of their communities through both traditional and emerging media platforms. Using a multi-pronged approach steeped in media literacy, media training, media justice, and the media arts, we work with and within communities to use media as a tool for advancing community voice and social justice.

My vision for this media center is rooted in work I have done over the years in community media. In Chicago I taught urban youth journalism in the housing projects. In Oakland I worked with youth of color on digital storytelling projects. In New Orleans I seek to create similar spaces to house projects and trainings that nurture civic engagement, community building, and media-based strategies for change.

How I will use the money:


Space Rental (4 Saturdays @ $50.00/day): $200 Small Flip Video Camcorders (5 used @ $50.00/each): $250 Video Projector: $120 Voice Recorders (5 at $9.95/each): $49.75 Course Booklet Photocopies (12 booklets @ $6.00/copy): $72 Sticky 20″ x 23″ Easel Butcher Paper: $27.99 Markers (2 packs @ $3.99/each): $7.98 Pocket Folders (2 packs of 10 @ $4.29/each): $8.58 Legal Pads (3 packs of 4 @ $2.99/each): $8.97 Pens (2 packs @ $2.19/each): $4.38 Food (lunch will be provided): $250 Total: $999.65


Awesome Hours is Awesome!!

So…. at our last Awesome Hours (in August at Tru Rootz Natural Hair Salon), some children got a hold of our camera equipment and decided to make their own video about Awesome Hours. The result is below and, although it’s a little crazy, it does provide great info about Awesome Hours and why YOU should come to the next one (that is, if you want $1000 for your awesome civic media project)!

BTW, the next Awesome Hours is Friday, September 20th (4-6pm) at Old Algiers Harvest Fresh Market on Teche and Newton Streets on the Westbank!! Hope to see you there!

September’s Winner is 2-Cent’s Listen! Literacy & Arts Festival!!



Focusing on the violence and education crises within our community, Listen! is an outdoor cultural arts festival organized by 2-Cent that offers an opportunity for New Orleans’ young people to form alliances for social activism, to voice their concerns, and to strategize for community betterment. We partner with Scholastic, Inc. to give out 10,000 brand new books and also to provide literacy training for parents at the festival. We reach out to local schools to encourage student participation by way of performances and essay contests.

Please join us at our next Awesome Hours event – Friday, September 20th (4-6pm) at the Algiers Harvest Fresh Market, Teche and Newton Streets on the Westbank. We’ll present a $1000 check to this month’s winner, 2-Cent Entertainment, and they’ll talk about their AWESOME project! After the check giveaway, trustees will be available to talk one-on-one with YOU about your project ideas and help you to apply.

Remember, we make $1000 grants every month. Proposals are now being accepted for the October grant cycle. So if you applied, but didn’t receive a grant during this cycle, we encourage you to re-apply!

– Your friends at Awesome New Orleans

About Awesome New Orleans: Launched in January 2013, Awesome New Orleans awards monthly $1,000, no-strings-attached grants for “civic media” and “social good” projects to applicants in the Orleans Parish area. We accept applications from everyone who has a great idea– individuals, community organizations and nonprofits alike. Click here to apply!!

Notes From A Trustee – Megan Hargroder


What’s an Awesome New Orleans trustee? Basically, they are the folks who volunteer to read through the applications, and then meet, discuss and ultimately decide which project will receive the Awesome New Orleans $1000 grant for the month. On top of that, they also pitch in money every month to fund 4 months of grants per year. They are a pretty cool bunch of folks! (Dare I say… AWESOME?!)

This month, we caught up with one of our trustees – Megan Hargroder, who recounts her experience at the very first Awesome NOLA trustee meeting:


Megan Hargroder
Awesome NOLA Trustee


“As fun and AWESOME as it is to be a part of the Awesome New Orleans Trustee Board, choosing just one project every month to fund is HARD. Really hard. Because there are so many amazing projects and ideas submitted that there is never ever a clear winner right off the bat.

In fact, at our first meeting – we ended up at a dead stand still between two projects after two hours of discussion.

We didn’t have a process in place to deal with that, because no one expected the room to be divided so passionately on two different (but equally amazing) projects. We considered (only for a brief moment) to flip a coin, or play rock paper scissors, but those types of tie breakers were quickly vetoed by the group and we ended up establishing a fair protocol for re-voting whenever we had a tie.”

Awesome New Orleans trustees come together monthly with passion and conviction, and often as advocates for projects. But ultimately, we can only choose one per month. It’s a fun process, and it’s constantly evolving. Sound interesting to you? Awesome New Orleans is seeking new trustees! To apply, start by telling our current trustees about yourself.

Ride New Orleans accepts $1000 check from Awesome New Orleans!!

Awesome New Orleans gives away $1000 each month to projects that make our city…. well, more AWESOME! This month, Ride New Orleans stood out among the 20+ applications with their “Giving Riders the Seat They Deserve” campaign.


On August 17th, Adelaide and Rachel from Ride New Orleans accepted the $1000 check at our August Awesome Hours event at Tru Rootz Natural Hair Salon on Kabel Drive in Algiers.

“Giving Riders the Seat They Deserve” will send a message to decision-makers in New Orleans: invest in a true CBD transfer station that provides basic comforts to current riders and encourages new ridership from tourists and residents who typically drive. More than 40% of RTA riders wait at the transfer point for 45 minutes or longer, and there are no public restrooms, route maps, shelter, and very few places to sit. Awesome New Orleans is happy to support Ride New Orleans in advocating for the rights of bus-riders!


How will they use the money? Ride New Orleans will use the $1000 to host their first action and press conference about the poor conditions at the CBD transfer station. They’ll set up 200+ chairs with signs and handouts explaining that transferring riders should have a place to sit. They plan to develop a campaign video and create outreach materials, as well as capture riders’ reactions with mini video interviews and photos of them relaxing in their seats. During the action/press conference, riders will have a chance to sign a petition and join Ride New Orleans’ efforts.

Thanks again to Tru Rootz for hosting us!!