A2Awesome: Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti leaders to distribute $1,000 grants to creative community projects
Twelve local leaders have collaborated to create an Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti chapter of a "micro-philanthropic" group affiliated with the Boston-based Awesome Foundation.
The nonprofit, calling itself A2Awesome, plans to distribute one $1,000 grant every month to "creative projects that will be bring surprise, delight and joy to the community," A2Awesome chairwoman Lisa Dengiz said in a statement.
The group said it draws financial support from the "personal funds" of its members: Dengiz, Zingerman's co-founder Paul Saginaw, Jeff Meyers, Dick Soble, Linh Song, Heather MacKenzie, Monique Deschaine, Hans Masing, Alice Liberson, Omari Rush and Tanya Luz.
Local blogger Mark Maynard, a trustee for the project, said in an email that A2Awesome would likely favor requests from applicants who are "creatively leveraging these funds to do even more." The grants will be available to projects throughout Washtenaw County — and the group members, including Maynard, will vote on the winners.
"It's hard to say, as we're just getting off the ground, but my sense is that we'd prefer projects where there's some possibility of jump-starting something even bigger," Maynard said. "In other words, we'd like to be the ones providing seed capital where there's potential for big things to happen."
Maynard said the group's not necessarily seeking new members, although he anticipates that other chapters of the Awesome Foundation could be launched in Washtenaw County as momentum builds.
Detroit and Grand Rapids are among a group of more than 20 cities that have active chapters of the Awesome Foundation, which was formed in 2009.