About Us

Do you have a zany, over-the-top, “no one will ever fund this because it’s too crazy” kind of idea? You’re in the right place! From Buffalo to Zimbabwe, we’ve supported an installation that lit up the Arizona Canal, a magazine controlled by its readers, and a street-side ball pit that encourages connectedness. There is awesome lurking in every corner. Our job is to find and fund it.

Welcome to Awesome Without Borders!

In early 2013, The Harnisch Foundation — which has been practicing creative, progressive grantmaking since 1998 – fell in love with its ideological counterpart, The Awesome Foundation. (Basically, our peas found their carrots.)

The Awesome Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is pooled together from the coffers of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees” and given upfront in cash, check, or gold doubloons. The chapters are autonomous and organized by the trustees around geographic areas or topics of interest. The Foundation provides these grants with no strings attached and claims no ownership over the projects it supports. It is, in the words of one of our trustees, “a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance.” To date, 106 chapters have been established in over 25 countries, with 1000+ projects funded.

The Harnisch Foundation wanted a chapter! So, Awesome Without Borders was born. Then we took it one step further and decided to fund one grantee each week.

Interested? Check out our FAQ which outlines our general guidelines for applications.

The Awesome Team

We are a hodgepodge of wizards, sprites, and flamethrowers granting wishes and sprinkling fairy dust on the most awesome ideas around. Meet the fun loving Trustees of Awesome Without Borders.

Ruth Ann Harnisch

Our reigning Queen of Awesome began her career as a news anchor/reporter, radio talk show host, and Op/Ed columnist in Nashville, TN. A passion for a fairer and happier world soon led Ruth Ann to found The Harnisch Foundation, which has been practicing creative, progressive, downright unusual grantmaking since 1998. A member of Women Moving Millions, a Sundance Institute & TED patron, a founder of SupporTED, a film producer AND a Dudeist Priest (phew!), most days you can find her wielding her social impact super powers from the beaches of the Bahamas. Because, why not?

Glenna Fraumeni

Born and raised in the green valleys of Toronto, Canada, Glenna Fraumeni spends a hefty chunk of her time out of doors with curiosity, a backpack, and bike as constant accoutrements to her being. She holds degrees in Advanced Nursing and Bioethics and is true to her Canadian roots with a strong passion for speaking French when the moment calls. She provides community nursing care in homes, on outreach health buses and in the shelter system. Always with a new forest to explore, a MultiSport race to train for, or a wilderness first aid course to take. Have peanut butter? Will travel.

Jenny Raymond

Jenny Raymond is a New Yorker. This job description includes: life wrangler, an oboist, momwife, and brainstormer-officiant with The Harnisch Foundation since 1999. Working with the Foundation, Jenny has been on the forefront of executing creative philanthropy experiments, from sustainable new models of journalism and empowering initiatives for girls and women, to spreading the passion of philanthropy itself, all the while proselytizing the fine art of cultivating relationships with funders to create long-lasting partnerships. But, Awesome Without Borders has, by far, been the juiciest melon in her trebuchet.

Jules Spector

Jules Spector is the founder and author of teenfeminist.com, started in late 2013. She is also a member of the 2013-2014 class of Teen Advisors for Girl Up, a UN Foundation organization. She is a Be Loud Ambassador and a member of the advisory board for School of Doodle. She is an intern for the Harnisch Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to investing in girls and women everywhere. She has been profiled in Mashable, BuzzFeed, Dolly Magazine (Australia), and The Guardian. She believes that girls everywhere are the future.  

Jocelyn Ban

Jocelyn is our communications guru. During the week she’s elevating awesome through strategic communications at the Harnisch Foundation and over the weekend she’s planning her next adventure whether via paperback, her running sneakers, or a Boeing plane with passport in hand.  She sees the potential in the entrepreneurial insights and creative outlook of the Awesome Without Borders community as well as the collective power of philanthropy to turn ideas into realities. The more, the merrier.

Linda Ballew

In Memoriam, 1950-2014

We miss “Lindy” every day. Her rare mix of moxie, irreverence and warmth brightened our lives, and her superb organizational skills kept us on track. She joined The Harnisch Foundation as the Director of Projects in 2006. In this role, Linda published The Chronicle of Coaching, managed the Coaching Commons, and helped to lead the Global Community of Coaches. The Linda S. Ballew Lecture on Self Acceptance at the Harvard Coaching Conference is a perfect tribute to the grace and good humor with which she faced ALS. And we don’t think it’s any coincidence that the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral just when she left us. She was that good.