- Applicants don't have to meet obscure grant requirements, jump through hoops, or even be held accountable for the money they receive. This means that if someone is inspired by a particular idea, they don't need to compromise that idea to meet some seemingly irrelevant application criteria or foundation obligation. This ability to follow one's own muse results in a high variability in submissions, a diversity of applicants, and a sense of freedom that can be inspirational.
- The Awesome Foundation is the only philanthropy that enables people to form their own philanthropy. There is something about the idea of the Awesome Foundation that is contagious. Its openness, lack of formal structure and small consensus-oriented team size allow micro-foundations to be easily replicated. This deeper sense of individual ownership over the giving process could be a powerful motivator towards larger-scale social good.
- The focus is on funding individuals to get things started that they wouldn't otherwise start. There is latent awesome idea potential in all of us - the snag appears to be getting off our ass and executing on it. So the Awesome Foundation's mission is to help you introduce awesome into the world. Not the continuation of mediocre stuff. More awesome.
- There is no hard and fast definition of what awesome is. Each micro-trustee brings a different definition and evaluation criteria, and this diversity of opinion permits surprise and delight inside each friendly monthly debate
- Awesomeness is, well, awesome. Most of the world is structured to encourage the creation of lowest common-denominator crap. Crap results from ideas being evaluated on their broad appeal, practicality, proven track record, or predictability of outcome. Awesomeness instead is about novelty, surprise, excellence, uniqueness, and wild and risky ideas. If we're going to fix the world's really big problems, we are going to need more wild and risky ideas.
Full Disclosure: I'm a founding member of the Awesome Foundation and an active micro-trustee.