Winner for November, 2017: CKMS 102.7 FM

From its humble beginnings in 1964 CKMS has gone through many ups and downs, but has always provided an important voice for the community.  They are this month’s deserving winner of our KW Awesome Foundation grant.  Set your dial to 102.7 FM to listen to an awesome and diverse line up of shows!  Congratulations and thanks for making KW awesome!




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Winner for September, 2017: KW Library of Things

Congratulations to this month’s winner, Devon and KW Library of Things!  Check out their progress at KW Library of Things.


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Winner for January, 2017: Waterloo City Limits Bike and Folk Festival

The Region of Waterloo has a country side boundary line (see map: that it created to protect farmland and sensitive environmental areas. This line faces regular challenges from housing developers looking to create new suburbs. The last time that the line was challenged, the Region was forced to push the boundary line back.

To protect the country side boundary line it is important to embed it in the culture of our community by building awareness of both the existence of the boundary line, and its significance for the sustainable development of Waterloo Region. So let’s have a party that celebrates the boundary line and all that it gives us!

This summer, we will be hosting Waterloo City Limits, a bike and folk music festival just past the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market at the Waterloo Rod & Gun Club.

Here’s how it will work:

Cycling: The circumference of the boundary line is approximately 120km. The day will start with cyclists having a friendly & fun ride that (as much as possible) follows the line.

Activities: Back at the Rod & Gun Club, bike tuneups will be offered, a course will be setup to teach safe biking skills to kids, and local sustainability & cycling groups will have booths for those looking to engage beyond this day.

Food: Super tasty locally-sourced food will be available.

Folk: Richard Garvey is a great local musician who has put on a small folk fest the last few years with other local artists. Richard will be hosting a local folk music fest at the Rod & Gun Club to welcome cyclists as they ride in and engage attendees who aren’t cycling.

Cyclists & attendees will be invited to donate a suggested amount, and food will be sold at accessible prices. Local craft beer will also be sold. Profits will seed a boundary line action fund to pay expenses of local NGOs if they need to defend the boundary line in future.

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Winner for October, 2016: KW Slam Poetry Team

img_20161004_202546_editFounded in 2011, the KW Poetry Slam is a series of community-building spoken word poetry events in Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario. KWPS is an official slam community under Spoken Word Canada.

By bringing together diverse artists in Kitchener Waterloo, the KW Poetry Slam builds a strong arts community by hosting a series of spoken word poetry events in Kitchener and Waterloo. The regular season slam series sends a team to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.

This month’s KW Awesome Foundation $1000 grant is going to send the KW Slam Poetry Team to Winnipeg to participate at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word from October 23 -30th.  Congratulations, you’re all awesome!


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Winner for June, 2016: Homeless in Waterloo

Homeless in Waterloo is a social project that provides an opportunity for our community to connect with people who are experiencing or who have experienced homelessness through their photos and stories.

By having this connection made online, it allows our community members to offer support at their own pace, on their own time, and at a level they are comfortable with.

There are so many organizations and groups in the Waterloo Region that provide the basic necessities for those experiencing homelessness and we greatly appreciate their tremendous efforts. We want to build on that strong foundation and provide people in our community with a genuine friendship and a sense of belonging.

The stories we share are only the beginning of our journey with them and along the way, we grow to become their friends and do our very best to help them achieve their goals – whether that be filling the fridge with groceries, learning how to use a computer, or sleeping on a new mattress.

To better help individuals achieve their goals, we’ve created the Homeless in Waterloo Network. The purpose of this network is to encourage open discussion on homelessness, provide a medium for anyone to share new ideas for our project, but more importantly, pool our community’s resources to help those who are in need.

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Winner for April, 2016: Friendzone Collective

We are a Kitchener-Waterloo arts collective working in all thing DIY, independent and weird. Founded in January 2016. We aim to promote music and art through events, live shows and resource sharing. Safety, inclusivity and open dialogue are prioritized in all that we do. We have been collaborating with countless individuals, artists, spaces and organizations within the city and have continued to gain more and more support from our community. This money will be one more step in making a thriving, radical arts community.


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March’s Pitch Night recap and Winner!

Our most recent Pitch Night at The Boathouse saw seven excellent groups pitching many compelling projects! This was certainly a tough decision!

The winner of the $1,000 grant was the Outdoor Classroom & School Yard Greening project, from Centennial Public School in Cambridge:

This group is building an outdoor classroom space and nature-based playground for use by their students and the local community at large. They plan to create a natural area, pathways and additions for art, exploration, and nature study to complement their outdoor learning curriculum.

This KW Awesome grant is funding a specific portion of the playground/sensory areas: art panels, texture-play sand area, pathways (for running!) and a bridge. They’re also hoping to add a log climbing structure that will promote gross motor skills and physical fitness (disguised as fun!).

Here are the other awesome projects from the evening:

  • Krysta Traianovski: Citivate – solving boredom by creating positive spaces for teenagers to hang out for free.
  • Pricilla Owusu-Amoah: Same World Same Future – providing workshops and other events for Africa Culture Camp.
  • Gena Meldazy: KW BookCycle – building a permanent, interactive public art installation in Uptown Waterloo to borrow, lend and swap books.
  • Niket Soni: The Markt – an online platform to connect local food industry businesses directly to consumers.
  • The Bright Blue Door: Creative Tank Improvement – buying an industrial air purifier for their artist’s shared studio space collective.
  • Shaima E: shecraftz workshops and more – buying equipment & establishing a non-profit for providing workshops and events to families with special needs.

A huge thanks goes out to all of our pitchers and the public that came out to see them! We’d also like to thank The Boathouse for hosting us and providing some much-needed audio support!

As always, if your group wasn’t selected this time around, please feel free to come back and pitch again! Our next pitch night is Tuesday May 26th. If you have a project or idea and want to pitch, please review our Application Guidelines! Deadline for applications is May 15th.

The KW Awesome Foundation is operated and funded by volunteers – If you’d like to help make awesome things happen in Waterloo Region, please consider becoming a trustee!

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May 2013 Pitch Night Winner, Meg Leslie’s poem: I want to tile a wall

I want to tile a wall.

It’s a dream that began from a page in a book with a picture of a wall

that Gaudi made

in the beautiful streets of Barcelona.

It’s a dream I found alive and well

and living in the heart of Isaiah Zagar

in the tough streets of south Philadelphia.

I want to tile a wall.

But I’m warning you now,

It will be beautiful.

My wall will be different than my mentor Isaiah’s.

My vision is Not just to encrust but to totally enhance.

And made from my hands!

(my head, my heart, my hands!)

And huge!

Bigger than I can imagine I can handle!

I want to tile a wall.

A wall, that when the sun shines, my bits of mirror reflect back at you

the brilliance of that day.

And maybe if you’re open to it, it will remind you

that you too can reflect light!

I want to tile a wall so that when it’s cold out,

you might look up and see it and it will warm you,


like hot chocolate.

And you will pause

from what you were doing,

from where you were going

and you will wonder for a moment,

Who did that?

How’d they do that?

When did they do that?

But you won’t wonder why I did that.

You’ll know.

You’ll know, looking at that wall

that I was an artist and that that wall

was my dream

(and it came true.)

I want to tile a wall.

You can see all of Meg’s work at

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Looking for three new Trustees

The KW Awesome Foundation is just over a year old, and we’ve gone through some incredible growth and changes in the past few months. We’ve seen plenty of interesting projects and ideas come to life, and we are looking forward to seeing more!

Sadly, we’ve had to say goodbye to three of our Trustees, but now we are looking for three more awesome people.

Do you have $100 burning a hole in your pocket you’d like to give away to amazing projects/people in the area once every two months at our Pitch Nights to help make KW an even awesomer place to live? Then contact us!

We meet every month, one monthly meeting to catch-up and talk ideas, the other is our Pitch Night.

Help us to make KW awesome!


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May 12 Pitch Night Wrap-up

There were nine pitches Wednesday night, and all of them were excellent ideas. Their original submissions were posted earlier. Below is our brief summary of the shenanigans, including links to sites and as much event information as we could dig up. If you are one of the pitchers (pitchees?) and have more information to share with us that you’d like on this site, please email it to If you are a member of the larger #kwawesome community, please, attend their events, donate time or money, connect with the presenters, just help them out any way you can. Each one has a great idea that would help to make KW an even more awesome place to live.

Above: the trustees get ready to hear the pitches.

Pitch #1: Nerd Night

Charlotte Armstrong presented. KW is the second Canadian chapter for Nerd Night, a worldwide organization that helps nerds get together and have nerdy talks and share nerdy ideas and do awesome nerdy stuff. Basically, Nerd Night centers around making presentations and the KW Nerd Night Organization would put the money towards buying a projector for the presentations since borrowing one for each Nerd Night can be very difficult.

Nerd Night KW has a Facebook page. Join it. Their next meet up is May 29 4:30pm at Rum Runner Pub. You better be there.

Pitch #2: Many Faces of Cambridge

Robert Fox presented. His brave wife is the one in the red bodysuit. Robert, in conjunction with other artists, is basically talking to locals in Cambridge and painting their portraits. The portraits are to then be put on display in local businesses as well as at a show at Cambridge City Hall.  The goal is to get 100 portraits done, telling the stories of the ordinary citizens of Cambridge you see every day. The show at City Hall in Cambridge will have people in bodysuits holding the portraits and sharing the details of the lives of the person whose portrait they’re carrying. Money will go towards the show and the portraits.

Robert has a site. The City Hall show is Friday, June 15 from 6 to 11pm at Cambridge City Hall. See you there!

Pitch #3: Lord Willing

Katie Klein presented. Her organization is working to put together a calendar/planner for Christian activists who are devoted to the teachings of Jesus and ideas such as: justice, kindness, cooperation, education, equality, and the like. They are fans of Christian Anarchism. The prize money would go directly towards the cost of printing the planners.

Pitch #4: Berlin Shorts

Sam Varteniuk presented. Sam has put together a short film competition in KW called Berlin Shorts (shouldn’t that be called Lederhosen?). Various short films produced in the KW area are screened, with feedback provided from other directors, and a vote for winners. Winners receive a prize and are encouraged to re-submit again. The event costs about $500 to run, and money would go towards running more events and prizes. The next screening it May 26, 2012 at Queen Street Commons Cafe.

Visit their site. Go to the next screening. Do it.

Pitch #5: The Fairy Catcher’s Companion

Amy Neufeld presented. It must be noted that she is the spouse of Sam Varteniuk, who presented for Berlin Shorts, our first KW Awesome Foundation competition between spouses! Will one end up on the couch tonight? The Fairy Catcher’s Companion is about entertainment for kids that doesn’t make parent’s want to gouge their eyes out (I’m looking at you, Backyardigans). It is a play with an all-female cast that addresses important issues and questions for kids while treating them like grown-ups. The prize money would go towards actually paying the artists to put on the performance.

The show being run is July 6 and 7 at the Registry Theatre.

Pitch #6: Bars & Tunes

Jennifer Cushing presented. Jennifer and another Conestoga student have started Bars & Tunes, a weekly video to promote local musicians. They interview them, show some clips of recent on-stage performances, and post it all on the internet. But, alas, getting a hold of a camera to film it is every week can prove to be quite difficult. The prize money would go towards purchasing a camera to film the interviews every week.

You can watch episodes of Bars & Tunes on their Youtube channel. Go give ’em some traffic.

Pitch #7: WorldVUZE

Julia Coburn presented. WorldVUZE is a service being developed for kids in classrooms K-12 to connect with kids in other classrooms all around the world. The idea is for students to share their perspectives of topics being learned in their class with kids in other classrooms, in order to gain a global perspective about topics being learned in class. Prize money would go towards creating a website to help further their goals.

Pitch #8: KW Optimist

Patrick Campbell presented. The bathrooms at the Camp Heidelberg campground have broken down, and it may cost up to $20,000 to fix them. 16,000 kids go through the camp a year, and if the bathrooms can’t be fixed and brought back up to standards, the local school boards won’t send any kids there. The prize would go towards the future cost of the fix to the plumbing.

Pitch #9: Digital Citizenship

Chris Bignell presented. Chris is a teacher in KW who has started a project to combat online bullying. His idea is to have students design anti-cyberbullying posters for other students. Prize money would go towards incentives for students to create the posters as well as printing costs for the posters.

Decision-making time is always the hardest part, at some point just about every pitch was considered for the $1,000 grant. There are just so many great ideas to make the Kitchener-Waterloo area an even better place to live, but only one prize to give. Fortunately it is perfectly fine to re-apply.

The $200 People’s Choice prize went to Digital Citizenship.

…and the $1,000 went to Berlin Shorts!

Thanks to all nine of our pitch presenters for coming out and sharing their vision of how to make KW an even more awesome place to live. About two months until our next pitch night, so please, submit your ideas now.

Posted in Blog, Pitch Night Wrap-up