Making St. Paul even more awesome

New giving circle jumpstarts small projects


What do a Makerspace teacher at Randolph Heights Elementary School, the owner of a St. Paul Frogtown-based non-profit that provides medical supplies to Bolivians, and a library media specialist at American Indian Magnet School located in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood have in common? Bottom line, all three of them are improving life for their stakeholders, often in small but significant ways.
Recently each of them received a $1,000 micro-grant from the St. Paul chapter of the Awesome Foundation, a new local giving circle that was started in February of this year that awards $1,000 gifts monthly to support awesome ideas in our community. They are a small band of donors guided by a firm desire to promote diverse ideas and uplift small projects throughout St. Paul.
“St. Paul is a unique community with thriving neighborhoods,” said Su Yeager, dean of the St. Paul Awesome chapter. “We decided to pool our money to fund projects that serve our community through the lenses of the arts, education and social outreach. We love projects that are solving problems and bringing joy to people in St. Paul.”
Because most of these projects are small and done on a shoestring budget, these gifts can be transformational. According to Katie Meier, Makerspace teacher at Randolph Heights Elementary School, “The Awesome grant allowed me to take my Makerspace classes to the next level! We bought a palm sander, drill, nails, hammers and paint for kids to learn basic wood working skills while making an original piece of art. The kids LOVE using the tools and have made amazing creations out of wood. Thank you!!”
Pollinator garden grantee Joan Velasquez, head of Mano a Mano, an international non-profit with headquarters in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul, said, “The Awesome grant application process was clear and simple. We received a quick response to our request, and the Awesome group expressed much personal interest in our pollinator garden project. They add to our own excitement about attracting more bees, butterflies and birds to our neighborhood. Truly awesome!”
Library media specialist Nicole Bierwerth said, “Our students at American Indian Magnet are so excited to have brand new books for our developing library space. We are committed to fostering a safe and exciting learning space for our students to grow as lifelong learners. With Awesome Foundation’s generosity we can make that dream a reality! Chi Miigwech.”
The application process is very easy, and deadlines are the 28th of each month. Simply visit and click on the St. Paul chapter page to apply. “You also can follow AwesomeStPaul on Facebook or contact us at,” Yeager said.
The Awesome Foundation was started in 2009 and has 83 chapters in 13 countries. Since then, it has awarded $5.717 million in grants to 5,717 projects worldwide.


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