Helping Others Live Their Dreams

By Keri Shepherd, trustee, Awesome Foundation

What started with a phone call from one of my favorite Realtors has turned into a yearlong adventure filled with Awesome experiences. In addition to being introduced to 10 amazing women in my fellow trustees, my experience with the Awesome Foundation has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities we have to make an impact in and around our communities with just a little thought and effort (and $1,000).


Image 1 of 2

Keri Shepherd

When Tracey Stott Kelley called to see if I would be interested in joining a group of Oahu women who would meet monthly to give $1,000 grants to everyday people with limited funds but unlimited dreams, I wasn’t sure what to expect – but I knew I wanted in!

Since our first meeting, we have given away $12,000 and 12 grants to some phenomenal people of all ages, from all walks of life.

Our first grant was given to a 6-year-old Maryknoll student who wanted the money to create “dream boxes” for homeless children filled with art supplies and other items that the kids could call their own. With the Awesome Foundation grant money and some help from the student’s family, they created and delivered dream boxes to 45 homeless children in a local transitional shelter.

A few of the other projects we have funded include an organization that promotes sustainable food gardens, an Eagle Scout project, a character-development camp for disadvantaged boys and a nonprofit program that assists the disabled and elderly in managing their money.

Our biggest challenge in this Awesome endeavor is finding ways to spread the word and encourage people to apply for our grants. It’s an easy process that starts with applying online at We review the applications monthly, discuss the specifics and vote on a winner. Those who don’t win are encouraged to reapply.

These monthly grants are for ordinary people who have the desire and the drive to make a difference but need funds to get their ideas moving or completed.

We believe that everyone has the capacity to effect positive change in his or her community, and we want to help them (you!) create that change. Apply for your grant and start making a difference one awesome idea at a time. Visit or email