Modest Projects Earn ‘Awesome’ Recognition

Tanya D'Avanzo (left), Kailua resident and trustee with the Oahu Awesome Foundation, presents a donation to Natalie Pawluk Moore and Jeric Lake to support a Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii camping trip to Laie for middle school boys. Photo from Tracey Stott Kelley.

The Awesome Foundation lived up to its name Dec. 19 in Kailua when trustees presented checks of $1,000 each to two nonprofit groups for their awesome ideas – one for youths and one for seniors.

* The Boys & Girls Club won a $1,000 gift to support its character and leadership development of adolescent boys, operating out of its Spalding House clubhouse in Honolulu. Man Hour helps middle-school boys, and SWAG (Society Wants a Gentleman) helps high-school-age boys, both through mentoring and role modeling by dependable men.

Natalie Pawluk Moore created the Man Hour program, which will soon add a Windward camping trip to the mix. It will bring the boys and the prominent male figures in their lives together at Camp Malaekahana near Laie. The two-night camp fee is about $700, so the grant will pay for that as well as transportation, meals and supplies.

* The Hika Kupuna Care Program has a state contract to help the disabled and elderly manage their money, but it only covers people with mental disorders.

Social worker Trina Orta and staff want to extend their services to include clients in nursing homes and foster homes. “This population is growing,” Orta said, “and we would like to continue to protect our kupuna from homelessness and other types of misuse of their benefits.” The $1,000 grant will sustain the care program’s work with a few of its elderly clients for now while Orta pursues a long-term sponsor.

The Awesome Foundation began in 2009 in Boston, and the Oahu chapter opened earlier this year, headed by trustee Tracey Stott Kelley, a Kailua Realtor. The micro-funder makes $1,000 grants each month to “an awesome project” in any field that will benefit the community. It seeds new ideas or gives established projects a leg up to the next level, with no strings attached. There are several Wind-ward trustees on the board, and each donates $50 to $100 monthly to the grant fund.

“The concept of inspiring everyday people in all age groups to create change is what drew me to the concept,” Kelley explained. “I do believe that change can often be made by a small group of committed people. We hope that it creates a ripple effect of creativity and giving.”

For more information, visit