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Mаry Mamyan

Awesome! $1000 Each Month Goes to the Craziest Idea

Hasmik Evoyan in early February received a grant from The Awesome Foundation for her project "Public Piano Under the Open Sky" — a public piano in Mashtots Park for passers-by to play, hold concerts and offer piano lessons.

Evoyan wants Mashtots Park, a "symbol of civic activism in Armenia,"  to become also a cultural venue, and she envisions placing the piano in spring. 

Every month, The Awesome Foundation's Yerevan branch gives $1,000 for the craziest and most interesting project. The foundation aims to provide people with the opportunity to implement programs and projects that would be of interest to the public and create opportunities to share them with others. But money is not provided to those individuals or organizations that could acquire the amount through other means. The foundation wants to give the money to someone to whom no one will financially support to implement his or her idea. The foundation also doesn't give money to business projects.

"If you want to do something crazy, no one will stop you. And if the only thing stopping you are small expenses, we'll cover them," says Albert Poghosyan of The Awesome Foundation's Yerevan branch. "You have to want to do that crazy thing. If it's a crazy thing [and] no one will give [you] money for it, we're ready to give it." 

The foundation hasn't yet received an application that is written according to their format. "The topics can range from ballet to promoting trade with Bangladesh [the colloquial reference to Yerevan's Malatya-Sebastia district], from [computer] programming to studying the sexual life of locusts in Armenia," he says.

In Armenia, the first The Awesome Foundation grant was given in October 2013. Every month, the Yerevan branch receives 20 to 30 applications, 40% of which come from outside the capital. The winner is decided by the foundation's 40-person team. Team members' professions and public and political views vary, but they all have one thing in common: to take part in implementing good ideas together. Each month, every member of the team donates 15,000 AMD (about $36 USD) to the cause, which is how the monthly grant money is collected. 

"That's the idea: that there are people who are ready to invest money so that something good happens in this country," says Poghosyan. 

The foundation receives various proposals. Poghosyan recalls that once they received a proposal to open a wedding (beauty) salon in a village — in fact, in order to get funding for another business. One girl wanted to go to the most expensive stores and spend the entire money in a single day. But often they get proposals for designing websites. 

"I want people to be happy with the life that they live," he says. 

Photo creditThe Awesome Foundation

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Հայկական մի հրաշալի առած կա(նախապես ներողություն կոպիտ լինելու համար)-«Վարտիկ չունին հագնելու,ձիով կերթան ք-----նելու»...

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