‘Awesome Piqua’ chapter founded

PIQUA — A new group was recently founded with plans to give out $1,000 grants to those who come up with good ideas for the betterment of Piqua and want to use those grants for those ideas.

The best parts? There are no strings attached and there are no limits on what the ideas can be.

The organization Awesome Piqua is a new, local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which is said to be “a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time.” The goal of the foundation is to make the cities where the individual chapters are located better, more fun places to live by funding projects that people suggest with $1,000 at a time.

The local Awesome Piqua chapter was founded by longtime resident Dan French, who first learned of the Awesome Foundation five years ago when his son, Peter French, was a founding trustee of the San Antonio chapter of the Awesome Foundation in 2012. The idea to create a chapter of the Awesome Foundation was also inspired by the June 2015 “I Love Piqua” workshop, where workshop leader Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities,” encouraged communities to find ways to “surprise and delight” their residents.

Awesome Piqua plans to give away $1,000 to groups or individuals who have a new idea or project that will complete that goal of “surprise and delight” for Piqua residents and community members.

“We’re looking for something that is new, something that is fun,” French said. The ideas can be “as far as the eye can see,” as French said.

In addition to French, Awesome Piqua currently has 16 trustees who French said vary in age and come from different parts of the community.

“It’s pretty important to have a very wide variety of ages as trustees,” French said.

French noted that what’s awesome for somebody in their 20s or 30s might not be awesome for someone in a different age range.

“The important thing is you get a variety of people of different ages … different parts of the community, different walks of life,” French said. “So you get input from people all over who come up with awesome ideas.”

Anybody with an idea is eligible to apply. There is no residency requirement, but the idea has to benefit Piqua. Applicants also do not have to be an approved, charitable organization. They can be any individual or group.

Those interested in applying can go to AwesomePiqua.org or AwesomeFoundation.org. Applicants will have 2,000 characters to explain their idea.

There are currently no limits or restrictions on the idea. French explained that some chapters of the Awesome Foundation focus on different things for different months, like the arts or youth activities, but there are no restrictions like that for Piqua’s chapter.

“Since we’re just getting started, we’re totally open,” French said. He explained it could be “whatever people can come up with that’s going to make people feel better about their community or help people” or it could also be seed money for a project someone wanted to start that would benefit the community.

“It’s totally wide open,” French said. “They come with no strings attached. There are no claims of ownership over the project and the group does not want to be repaid.”

The group’s current plan is to have trustees select a few of the first projects themselves that will be receiving funding. Later on, the group is contemplating having a “public pitch party” where the top four grant applicants would make a case for their projects.

The goal is to have enough good ideas from people that Awesome Piqua is able to give out $1,000 grants each month. The idea is that each trustee will contribute $1,000 each calendar year. Awesome Piqua might be able to give out grants as soon as July or August once they start receiving applications.

“The main thing is that people have fun,” French said.

Projects could include creative initiatives in a wide range of areas including recreation, arts, technology, community development, and more, according to Awesome Piqua. Projects can also have an educational goal, such as teaching school children about growing vegetables and plants so they learn where our food comes from, or a recreational goal, such as inspiring people to use our recreational path and water assets, to all kinds of other ideas.

The trustees of the group include Dan French, dean; Dr. Doreen Larson, co-dean; Lorna Swisher, co-dean; Len Larson; Amanda Brown, social media ninja; Beka Lindeman, co-social media ninja; Jim McMaken, treasurer; Kazy and Joe Hinds, co-trustees; Jeremie Hittle and Dwayne Thompson, co-trustees; Justin Sommer; Jim Vetter; Gordon and Susie Wise, co-trustees; and Kate Hoffman and Melissa Leingang, co-trustees.

By Sam Wildow


Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall