Announcing the Launch of Awesome Foundation Disability #AwesomeDisability

By Tiffany Yu

January 21, 2017 was a rainy day in San Francisco. But I was still excited because not only were women and men coming together for the Women’s March, but also Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project and I were meeting for the first time. I’ve been a big fan of Alice’s work since my New York days.

We met for tea and coffee cake at her home and chatted about all things San Francisco, disability, and community.

Image description: two Asian American women next to each other at a kitchen table. The woman on the left [Alice] is in a wheelchair with a mask over her nose and wearing a navy blue hoodie. The woman on the right [Tiffany] has a necklace and a black v-neck shirt on. Both are smiling to the camera.

Something Alice said really resonated with me. “What do we do with the privilege we have been given [to be a leader and have a voice in this community]?”

As a self-proclaimed inclusion and empowerment advocate, I mentioned to Alice that I had been thinking a lot about what empowerment looks like in our community. Maybe a fund that invested in or incubated inclusive products or startups, maybe a monthly financial award recognizing incredible disability advocates… When I think about what we as individuals can give to others, it comes down to time, relationships, and money. On that last point, I couldn’t help but think about the #DisablePoverty campaign that highlighted the limited employment opportunities and therefore the limited upward financial mobility that people in our community continue to face. It breaks my heart.

Then Alice told me she applied for a $1,000 microgrant from the San Francisco chapter of The Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation is a community of autonomous chapters of self-organized “micro-trustees” that distributes $1,000 grants, no strings attached, to projects and their creators. Each trustee commits to contributing $100 per month and the contributions together are what creates the $1,000 grant.

That’s when we came up with the idea to create a global chapter of the Awesome Foundation focused on disability, consisting of trustees who all identify as having a disability. I knew Alice and I were committed, but would we be able to find 8 others who were just as excited about supporting our community?

Less than a month later, we had our group of founding trustees for Awesome Disability. We are:

  1. Tiffany Yu — San Francisco, CA, USA
  2. Alice Wong — San Francisco, CA, USA
  3. Alexandra McArthur — Raleigh, NC, USA
  4. Ian Smith — Oakland, CA, USA
  5. Jason Boberg — Auckland, New Zealand
  6. John Fazzolari — New York, NY, USA
  7. Liz Henry — San Francisco, CA, USA
  8. Riad Masoet — Cape Town, South Africa
  9. Victor Pineda — Berkeley, CA, USA
  10. Walei Sabry — New York, NY, USA

We are not a 501(c)3 non-profit or a corporation, we’re just a group of people with disabilities who want to pay it forward to our community.

How the Awesome Foundation Disability works:

  • 10 trustees (on average) each contribute $100 per month.
  • People with awesome ideas submit an application for the grant (in English, please).
  • The trustees review and discuss the applications, and pick the best one.
  • The winner is given $1,000, no strings attached.
  • The process is repeated every month, in order to spread the awesomeness.

Here are a few projects that have been funded by other Awesome chapters:

If you’ve got an awesome idea and $1,000 would make it a reality, apply for a grant.

If you’d like to join us as an Awesome Disability trustee down the line, apply to become a trustee.

Image description: In pink “AWESOME FOUNDATION DISABILITY” in block text with the Awesome Foundation logo on the right (fast forward sign). Underneath in black text “What would you do with $1000?” Underneath in pink block text “EVERY MONTH WE AWARD $1000 TO MAKE A NEW AWESOME PROJECT HAPPEN.” In black block text “APPLY AT DISABILITY.AWESOMEFOUNDATION.ORG

We’d love your help getting the word out by sharing this via Facebook, Twitter, etc. It takes a second and the person you share this with might be the next recipient of a cool grant that spreads awesomeness in our community.

Originally published at on April 1, 2017.