It’s tough being the Dean of Awesome. And Craig Ennis isn’t fussy about his given title. It’s the default monicker for lead coordinating administrators for all chapters of the Awesome Foundation, the international network of philanthropists that provide no-strings-attached $1000 grants to “people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe.”
“I’m a wallflower,” says Ennis. “I kinda hate being the focal point, but when a job comes to you, you do it.”
Ennis, a consultant from St. John’s, and his wife Mandy Woodland first heard of the organization through Awesome Halifax, which has been active since early 2012. Since then, Awesome Halifax has seen mass treeplanting, a bagpipe parade, the development of community gardens and performance spaces, public ping pong tables, and mobile units offering primary health care for the homeless.
“It’s high-impact stuff,” says Ennis. “You can do a lot with a little. A well-placed, low-bureaucratic $1000 goes a long way.”
After their experience in Halifax, Ennis and his associates reached out to the Awesome Foundation’s home office in Boston, and to people in their own network, who became the initial trustees of Awesome St. John’s. From there, Ennis was dubbed St. John’s’ own Dean of Awesome.
Ennis is eager to share the spotlight with his fellow trustees — early-adopting board members that have come from various fields. “Everybody loves the city,” says Ennis. “Everybody loves the people. Everybody decided to give a little bit of money and a little bit of time. They’re the ones that are doing cool stuff.”
Awesome St. John’s accepts grant submissions monthly. Find more info at www.awesomestjohns.com.