Doing Good: Foundation gives monthly grants to local projects

Who’s doing good? Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at


Dionne Mahaffey calls it a “discovery engine of inspiration.” She talks about The Awesome Foundation, the organization that started in 2009 and with trustees and provides monthly grants to various projects that are attempting to make local cities a better place to live.

It was right up the alley of the self-proclaimed serial volunteer. “I have been volunteering since I can remember, and to get the opportunity to launch this chapter allowed me to continue the spirit of giving back and get more Atlantans involved,” said Mahaffey, who is a business psychologist.

Mahaffey launched the Atlanta chapter in April, and once a month, she and fellow trustees pool together $100 and contribute a $1,000 grant to deserving nonprofits or volunteerism projects around Atlanta. There are no strings attached to the recipients of the grant.

“The whole idea is to fill a specific niche to fund great ideas that are just trying to do something good in Atlanta,” she said. “It doesn’t just include social change, but also simple projects such as park cleanups or painting murals.”

The Awesome Foundation Atlanta chapter has given $1,000 to various projects such as the Little Free Library, SMART Moves Chess Club and the Goodie Hack - $4,000 in total since its founding. Its August $1,000 grant was awarded to The Learning Garden, a new project started by the Ryan Cameron Foundation.

The garden, located in Bankhead, “is a vehicle to teach kids about fresh fruits and vegetables, learn where their food comes from and eventually make healthy food choices,” said V-103 radio personality Ryan Cameron. “This grant from the Awesome Foundation helps toward getting the project started and working towards our mission.”

The foundation is looking for more trustees to grow the chapter, and Mahaffey encourages nonprofits, individuals and teams to come out to the Awesome Hours held once a month at Fork and Juniper to meet other groups and people who are making a difference in Atlanta.

“People are naturally giving and with the Awesome Foundation, we are able to help fund impactful projects and be able to share the goodness in people.”

The Awesome Foundation started in 2009 and has donated $1,117,000 to 1,117 projects around the world.

In other news: Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta donated more than $18,000 to Bert's Big Adventure, a nonprofit organization that provides an all-expenses-paid, five-day trip to Walt Disney World for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families. The contribution was a result of previous ticket sales for the Atlanta debut of the series' musical The Little Mermaid, which ran at the Fox Theatre through July 13. For every ticket sold during pre-season, $5 was donated to benefit the Atlanta-based nonprofit organization.