This is Awesome.
As a Calgary 2012 Cultural Ambassador (and a born-and-raised Calgarian), not only have I seen and grown up with the diversity of culture in this city and witnessed the innovation that can happen at the grassroots level, but as one of the Founding Trustees with Awesome Foundation - Calgary, I've also seen first-hand the power that microfinancing can have as an enabler and show of support for many ideas and projects both big and small.
While many of the projects funded over at Awesome Calgary "only" get $1,000, that (relatively) small amount of money has enabled regular Calgarians to show free movies for the public outdoors, throw parties to say farewell to beloved Calgary institutions, build robots that can draw, teach children the art of documentary film making, help launch a youth sketch comedy troupe and even kickstart the city's first tool lending library.
A little goes a long way, and it doesn't take much to kickstart an idea. Passion and motivation are key, for sure, for without that, it's difficult to get through the tough times. But when the tough times come, every idea can use a little support now and then, and even with just a little bit of money, great things can happen.
This is why I'm so excited about Calgary 2012's Grassroots Inspired Grants program. The toughest part about being an AF-Calgary Trustee is that we get so many Awesome Ideas submitted through our website but can only fund one of them a month. Here, there are 27 $1,200 grants up for grabs every month until the end of the year! It's amazing to me and a bit awe-inspiring as well when I think about all the cool projects that may come out of Calgary 2012's GiG program. In fact, looking at the GiG Project List right now, I'm amazed at the diversity of projects already submitted, and I know that it'll get even more diverse as time goes on.
Another thing I love about Calgary 2012's GiG program is that anyone can vote for their favourite projects, all you need to do is create an account so you can cast a ballot. And if you're a Calgary 2012 Cultural Ambassador like me (sign up to be one, if you haven't already), you can vote for as many as you like! At AF-Calgary, I can only vote for one idea at a time and it's always a struggle to pick just one so it's nice to not have to make those tough decisions for a change.
Anyways, this is an excellent opportunity to get some funding for anything that's arts, culture, heritage or community related in the city no matter how big or how small, and I highly recommend you take advantage of it while it's here. If you've ever wanted to throw an event or celebration in your part of the city or simply have a wacky idea that can bring people together, submit it to the GiG program for consideration. You never know!
And even if you don't have any ideas for something to do on your own right now, help enable fellow Calgarians to execute their ideas by taking a look at the GiG Project List and casting your vote for your favourite ideas or projects. Not only will you be supporting ordinary people trying to do extraordinary things in Calgary through that one simple task, but who knows? After seeing what people are coming up with over here, you just may walk away inspired to try and create something of your own. And wouldn't that be Awesome?
Until next time,
Reg Tiangha - Calgary 2012 Cultural Ambassador