In the next year, Awesome New Orleans will give out eight grants through the Institute on Higher Awesome Studies’ partnership with the Knight Foundation to projects that make journalism, civic media, and community engagement more awesome in New Orleans. The other four months of grants will be focused on general “social good” projects.
We’ve already gotten a lot of questions about what exactly these “community information and engagement” grants will fund. We’re being vague on purpose–we simply don’t know all of the awesome ideas New Orleanians can come up with, but we can tell you that we will be judging projects based on whether they inform and engage the community. This could take a lot of different forms: a documentary project to capture oral history, a campaign to educate specific neighborhoods about a public health issue, a project addressing the digital divide, or a block party aimed at organizing neighbors. If your project is intended to educate, organize, or empower a New Orleans community, it likely qualifies!
So is this just about supporting journalism?
Journalism is an important part of how people get information about news, events, and issues in their communities, but it’s by no means the only way. That said, we’re definitely interested in your awesome ideas for robust community journalism project, but we also encourage creative submissions around how information circulates and engages people in your community.
What other criteria are you looking for?
As with all Awesome Foundation grants, the trustees make the decision and each have their own set of priorities and interests. In general, however, projects where $1000 can make a big, meaningful impact tend to do better than those that have a much higher budget. Points are given for creativity, originality, thoroughness, and community impact. And of course, we want to see that you’ve thought the plan through and can actually make it happen!
If you’re still unsure if your project ideas fit within the “civic media” project range, keep an eye out for community Awesome Hours each month where you can talk with trustees about your idea or email neworleans@awesomefoundation.