Friday, April 29, 2011

And the winner is ...

 Congratulations to Paisley V. Sim ... 
"Yes!  Look up, Calgary" 1st Awesome Foundation Calgary Winner!

Paisley V Sim says YES! to $1000 grant from Awesome Foundation Calgary!

Paisley wowed us with her idea to have a giant "Yes!" sky written over Calgary to empower Calgarians to believe that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to!  

Paisley has some other aspects to the project to get 1000s of people involved for this big event.  Watch for it to hit the sky some time in June!  

Here is Paisley's pitch that won our hearts and the $1000. 

I’m elated to be back in Calgary because more than any other city, Calgary is full of boundless potential. We are consistently surprising the country and world with our truly awesome community engaged initiatives (like this one!), our handsome and inspiring mayor, our energetic bid to become the 2012 cultural capital of Canada, our festivals, parks, and with the many diverse flourising communities learning to coexist in the midst of an ever evolving cultural and economic landscape. Calgary is awesome in more ways than I can touch on here, and my awesome idea is designed to alter the landscape of this city temporarily. It will reach hundreds if not thousands of unsuspecting Calgarians, and it will shake people’s day-to-day experience of this city - making them realize that Calgary is an awe-inspiring capital.

Simply put: I will hire a skywriter to fly a small plane over downtown Calgary at 4:30pm on a weekday afternoon in June to write the word YES! in the clouds. This ephemeral message is positive and can be interpreted in many many ways.
Yes!  Calgary can do it!

YES! Calgary is vibrant!
YES! Calgary is moving forward!
YES! Calgary is going to be the 2012 cultural capital!
and YES! Calgary is full of surprises! (It’s kind of like a high-five to the whole city, but in the sky. )

I’ve been in contact with a skywriting company and because it’s awesome, they will coordinate this flight en route to another job, taking the price of skywriting from the standard $2000 minimum to $1000. This means that the day of the week is still undetermined, but it can be done. YES!

Leading up to the day of the flight, I will band together as many people (and as much chalk) as possible,  and we will cover sidewalks with 4:30PM  / LOOK UP / AWESOME.

And that’s what it’s going to be - awesome. The idea to write YES! in the clouds is feasible, it reaches a wide range of Calgarians, and illustrates that YES! Calgary is an awesome place to live, and YES! even when you think you know a place, it has the potential to surprise you. ~Paisley

Melissa D'Souza sings "Rise Up!" to the crowd
Our first awards night was a huge success.  The four finalists gave awesome pitches and made our decision very tough.  (we'll post the video clips of their pitches here shortly).  Special thanks to Chris Hsiung for video-taping the event, to Melissa D'Souza who sang an "awesome" version of her hit song "Rise Up!" and to photographers Sabahat Naureen and Lonnie Taylor for capturing our event.  (thanks to Lonnie for the photos on this post ... more pics and videos to follow)

We couldn't have held this event without Shannon & Maria of Endeavor Arts Gallery!  What a fabulous venue to hold interactive events.   We loved it and I know our very enthusiastic audience was impressed with gallery.  

AF Calgary trustees with Paisley
***** Don't delay! Get your submission in for the next awards cycle.  All it takes is one awesome idea to win $1000 to get it going!  Get the deets here.


Awesome Foundation Calgary is proud to present each winner with not only $1000 in cold, hard cash ... but also a custom-made Awesome Lootbag designed and created by Calgary's own "Judy, the bag lady".  

A medley of media!

Top4 Finalists

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today's the Day!

It's here! The first ever, inaugural Awesome Foundation Calgary Awesome Awards Night!

(wow, that was a mouthful!)

It will be held at the beautiful Endeavor Arts Gallery at 1209 1st Street SW at 6 p.m. and YOU are invited!

The tentative agenda for the evening looks something like this:

6:00 p.m. - Introductions
6:07 p.m. - Honorable Mentions
6:10 p.m. - Melissa D'Souza performs
6:20 p.m. - Top 4 Finalist Pitches
6:40 p.m. - Trustees Deliberate
6:50 p.m. - The first-ever Awesome Calgary $1,000 grant is awarded
6:55 p.m. - Closing Comments

Afterwards, there'll be an opportunity for the public to talk to the finalists, congratulate the winner, and meet the Awesome Calgary team.

Completely open to the public, if you're on Yelp, you can RSVP through the Yelp event listing, or if you're on Facebook, the Facebook event listing.

If you're on Twitter, the hashtag we'll be promoting for this event and all future Awesome endeavors in Calgary is #AWEyyc

As every new chapter of the Awesome Foundation comes on-line around the world, they always look at what previous chapters have done in the past in their inaugural months. So come down tonight and be a part of history!

Hope to see you tonight,

Monday, April 25, 2011

How DO we pick?? Top 4 Finalists

It's an exciting line up for the inaugural $1000 Awesome Calgary grant!  Join us at the fabulous Endeavour Arts Gallery on April 28th at 6pm to watch our Top4 pitch for $1000 to get their idea going.    Special guest performer Melissa D'Souza will get the crowd inspired and rev'd up for the pitches.  It's going to be awesome!

Introducing our Top4 Finalists
Fire Tornado - An innovative device that marries gas fireplace and dust devil. ~ Dean Balkenstein

100 Year Old Houses - Commemorating Calgary homes that have reached their centennial year. ~ Art Matsui

Yes! - Look up to the sky for an inspiring, encouraging, positive message to Calgarians. ~Paisley V. Sim

Meganopoly - A take on the classic boardgame; you can't pick the top hat, but you could wear one! ~ J Snider

With 26 Awesome submissions for our first month, it was very difficult to narrow down to our Top4 finalists and we would be remiss if we didn't send kudos out to a number of other ideas that we found to be intriguing and downright worthy of not only mention, but of your attention, too. Check 'em out!

Honourable Mentions

The Planet Tour is a "next-generation web-video show" by Daryl Makk, a stand-up comic, motorcycle enthusiast, and traveler. Daryl asked us to fund a tour across Canada sharing his message of sharing the road. He received honourable mention in large-part because of the overall quality of his presentation. He not only provided us with a one-page proposal regarding his project, he also produced a high-quality introduction video that let us get to know more about him and his project. He was also extremely clear about how he intended to use the funds. While he didn't make the final-four, we were very impressed with his submission, and wish him the greatest luck with The Planet Tour. You can read more about Daryl's idea at

Calgary Community Book Project came from Carolyn McPherson. We, at Awesome Foundation Calgary, fancy ourselves to be highly literate, and Carolyn's idea for releasing one book per week over one year "into the wild" caught our eye. With the modern era, many people find their eyes glued to cell phones or plugged into mp3 players. The idea of leaving books in public places like festival, cafes, and on transit for others to pick up and share was inspiring to us. We think that supporting good ol' fashioned reading is a great idea, and definitely worthy of honourable mention.

Test Drive A Sport is an initiative from Linda Craig of Women Rock Productions. It gives women the opportunity to try out twelve different sports--from netball to tackle football, and ultimate Frisbee to ball hockey, to name a handfull--to inspire activity. It offers women the opportunity to "test drive" these sports to help them find something that they find fun and engaging. AFter all, if one enjoys an activity, aren't they more likely to stick with it? We love the idea of people being active, testing their abilities, and just being healther. We're also huge fans of fun! You can Test Drive A Sport for FREE at their booth at the Calgary Woman's Show on April 30 and May 1 at BMO Centre at Stampede Park.

Where Are We Supposed to Go? is a documentary about the all-ages punk rock scene in Calgary from the '80s to present day. The project "will shine a light on an era in Calgary that produced international stars such as Feist, Tegan and Sara, and Braids, as well as many lesser-known artists. The punk rock doc will culminate with a reunion all-ages show in the fall of 2012. In our discussions on arriving at our shortlist, most trustees expressed great admiration for this project, with one even talking about having heard about the scene all the way out in Ontario. Though the timeline-to-completion on the project is too long at present for Awesome Foundation Calgary to consider, we can't wait to hear more about the project and love what MT Flask Productions are doing. Check out a cool teaser video from MT Flask at (Warren Kinsella, keep an eye on this!)

Bow To Bluff is an idea from Tarama Lee, lover of awesome public spaces like Portland's Pioneer Square and Barcelona's La Rambla (both truly wonderful parts of their respective cityscapes). Tamara asked for our help in supporting their push to reclaim an under-utilized public space to make it great. The corridor which runs alongside the Sunnyside LRT station, from Memorial Drive ot McHugh Bluff, is a nice little passage that, we agree, could become so much more. We're strong boosters of attractive and memorable public space, and Bow to Bluff has our moral support for their action to create just that on the western boundary of Sunnyside. Find out how you can help by contacting

Friday, April 22, 2011

First-ever Awesome Calgary Finalists!

Wow!  This really is "Good Friday".  

I'm thrilled to announce our Top4 finalists for the first ever Awesome Calgary $1000 grant for microbrilliance.  In no particular order:
  • Fire Tornado - Dean 
  • 100 Year Old Houses - Art 
  • Yes! - Paisley 
  • Meganopoly - J
Trusty Trustee Reg Tiangha took this pic of us counting out the loot!
Please join us on April 28th at 6pm at the gorgeous Endeavour Arts Gallery to see these 4 ideas "micro pitch" to us (WOW us in 90 seconds!)  ... and to misquote Donald Trump "someone is going home A WINNER!".  We will award the $1000 cash, on the spot, to the winner.   Videos of the Top4 pitches will be posted to this site after the awards.  

shhhhh ... we also have a few other surprises in store for the evening.  Pitches start at 6pm ...  come early to join in the fun! Special musical guest to be announced soon. 

Thanks for all the great submissions this month - it's a shame we can't award lots more grants.   Along with the Top4 we want to give kudos to a number of honourable mentions: 
  • Planet Tour - Daryl 
  • Community Books - Carolyn 
  • Test Drive a Sport - Linda 
  • Where are We Supposed to Go? - Jeremy
  • Bow to Bluff Poster - Tamara
Don't forget to get your submissions in for the May $1000 Grant - deadline is May 10th.   In the meantime - have an awesome weekend!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thank you for all the incredible (and awesome!) idea submissions!

Thank you for all the submissions to Awesome Calgary Foundation!   The response to our call for awesomeness in Calgary has been impressive and somewhat humbling.  It's incredible to know that so many awesome ideas and people exist in Calgary.   Thank you for being a part of the very first Awesome Calgary grant for micro-brilliance. 

The next steps are:

  • we will notify the top 4 finalists, via email, to come pitch to us on April 28th at 6pm (venue to be announced soon but it will be in an awesome venue in an area of Calgary accessible by transit)
  • the grant winner will be awarded $1000 cash, on the spot, at the Pitch Party
  • all submitters and members of the public are invited (and encouraged!) to join us for the pitch party - awesomeness is only truly awesome when shared with others! 
If your idea is not selected as a finalist - it  doesn't mean it's not awesome, it just means that it may need a bit more work or concept development to become a true contender.  You can always resubmit for another award cycle.  The Awesome trustees are happy to chat with you about your idea after the awarding the grant. 

Stay tuned for the announcement of the exciting venue and the 4 incredible finalists!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's here! ... Awesome Calgary first-ever submission day

How exciting is today??  It's our first 2011 gorgeous spring day and the very first Awesome Calgary submission deadline!

The clock is ticking and you still have plenty of hours yet to submit your awesome idea and get in on the Pitch 'n Party for $1000 free grant to get your idea going.  Midnight tonight ... that's 10 hrs and 7 mins from now.   What are you waiting for?  Get going!

To submit your idea:
  • create a 1-pager that clearly outlines your idea and how it's awesome for Calgary (or the universe!) (with a 60 second optional video)
  • submit that idea to 
and start planning to attend the Pitch 'n Party night on April 28th!    We will notify the top 4 most awesome ideas by April 22nd and they will be invited to pitch to the crowd on April 28th.  Let the awesomeness begin!!   Stay tuned for surprises and special announcements about the Pitch 'n Party.  

It really is time to  share the awesomeness of Calgary with the rest of the world!  

Have an awesome day!

PS: are you lovin' the new Awesome Calgary logo?   We went with the standard Awesome Foundation theme.