Sometimes you don’t need to raise six or seven figures to get your project humming. Sometimes a small amount can lead to big change. That’s exactly what’s happening with one of Bend’s more delightful projects right now, Awesome Bend.

The group awarded Serenity Johnson a $1,000 grant to make her idea of expanding Little Free Libraries (aka the cutest things ever) to the neglected parts of Bend a reality. Johnson was one of five finalists pitching their ideas Tuesday night at the Deschutes Brewery Tap Room. The grant came from ten $100 donations from Awesome Bend trustees.

“This project [will] promote one of the most valuable things we have—literacy,” said Johnson. “Without reading, we would not be able to do math, drive, shop, learn, and live a functioning life.These libraries [will] not only bring the community closer, but also make the gift of learning accessible to each and every person in Bend.”

Johnson is a senior at Summit High School and just moved to Bend a month ago. Our hats off to her for diving in and making her new home a better place. Johnson accepted the prize from Awesome Bend’s student trustee Olivia Brumwell, a junior at Bend High.

Awesome Bend Winner Oct 2015
Serenity Johnson, left, and Olivia Brumwell, right.

“We love that our young people are getting involved and making a difference in our community,” says Pam Stevenson, Awesome Bend’s co-founder. Awesome Bend is now accepting applications for proposals that will make Bend an even better place to live, work or play for its next quarterly grant.

The application deadline is January 1, 2016. Finalists will be notified and invited to present 3-minute pitches at the next Awesome Bend Pitch Night, January 19th, 2016 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Deschutes Brewery Tap Room, 1044 NW Bond Street in downtown Bend. The event is free and open to the public. Keep being awesome people.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley