That’s a question we posed to you all through our Public Insight Network last week. We were asking because I just finished a story about the Chicago chapter of the Awesome Foundation, a group of ten people who each month give out $1,000 in cash to people to make their city. (Here’s the story and here’s the question.)
Cleveland’s Tracy Moavero had a simple idea to engage teens and tweens in downtown Cleveland:
“I’d work with a a local nonprofit like City Prowl to have a youth scavenger hunt in downtown Cleveland,” she wrote into our network. “The age-appropriate scavenger hunts would require kids to talk to people at bus stops, behind shop counters and other places to get answers to questions about the city and its people.”
“We need to engage them and help them feel ownership of the city core in order to reverse the worst effects of sprawl in Northeast Ohio,” said Moavero, who added she would focus on kids who live in the outer suburbs specifically because they’re not as likely to have spent time downtown.
Other ideas including piping classical music into parks, planting sunflowers all around the city, or donating money to a homeless shelter (“$1,000 isn’t what it used to be!”, one of our Network contributors wrote).
The Awesome Foundation has funded projects just like this – the whole point really being not to be so serious, but to make people smile, or think about things differently. The Chicago’s chapter’s first grant went to the Little Free Libraries, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that puts up tiny libraries where people can exchange books for free. In Los Angeles, they recently gave money to a guy who put swings up all over the city. The You Tube video (check it out below) inspired Drew Bradford to join the Chicago chapter.
If you had $1,000, what would you do? Feel free to post in the comments or join our network.