Make us your home page

Awesome Tampa Bay awards third microgrant as Awesome St. Petersburg sprouts

ST. PETERSBURG — A fish farm to provide food for low-income families. A network of local chefs who collaborate to provide food for a cause.

These are some of the ideas that have been floated to Awesome Tampa Bay, a regional organization created last year with the goal of providing $1,000 microgrants to people with creative ideas to better the community.

Some are goofy. Some are enlightening. All are "awesome." That is according to the group's founders, who hosted a gathering Thursday at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg to announce the latest grant recipient.

"It's a way to fund things that have no other way to get funded," T. Hampton Dohrman, the group's "dean of awesomeness," explained in addressing the crowd. "Awesomeness is a contagious disease that hopefully you all have."

The latest winning idea: Bomb the Medians, an effort to beautify the sides of local roads by planting wildflowers along bare median strips. The proposal came from Ken Cowart, a Tampa architect who grew tired of seeing median strips cluttered with trash along his drive to work each day.

"I thought it would be a great idea, instead of throwing out my Coke can, to throw out wildflower seeds," Cowart said. "It seems like it's a no-brainer that there should be wildflowers — we're in Florida."

Since Awesome Tampa Bay began, its "trustees of awesomeness," a group of 10 local business leaders and entrepreneurs, have awarded two $1,000 grants.

The first went to "The Birdhouse Buying Club," a project to provide fresh produce to low-income residents of Tampa's Sulphur Springs neighborhood. The next went to A Reflection to Peace of Mind, the brainchild of a retired teacher, Sylvia Albritton, who received the grant to publish an anthology of creative writing and poetry composed by incarcerated youths.

Each trustee contributes $100 toward the grant, given four times a year. The trustees select the winning entries. More than 200 submissions have been judged since the group began.

"We've had projects that didn't get the $1,000, but because of networking at these events they are still on track to happen," Dohrman said.

A second announcement at Thursday's event proclaimed the formation of Awesome St. Petersburg, a localized offshoot of the regional organization.

The local group, which already has its own board of trustees, will operate with the same concept as Awesome Tampa Bay.

"Obviously, there's tons of people in Tampa Bay that have cool ideas," said Reuben Pressman, a social entrepreneur who assembled Awesome St. Petersburg. "Ours will be featuring projects just for St. Pete."

For more information, visit

Reach Dan Sullivan at (727) 893-8321 or

Awesome Tampa Bay awards third microgrant as Awesome St. Petersburg sprouts 05/03/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 4, 2012 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good news: Tampa Bay no longer a major foreclosure capital of the country

    Real Estate

    Once in the top five nationally for foreclosure filings, the Tampa Bay area no longer ranks even in the top 25.

    A few short years ago, Tampa Bay was a national hub for foreclosures. Not any more. [Getty Images/iStockphoto]
  2. Tampa-based start-up takes on Airbnb by promoting inclusion, diversity


    NEW TAMPA — Last May, Rohan Gilkes attempted to book a property in Idaho on the home-sharing platform Airbnb. After two failed attempts, the African-American entrepreneur asked a white friend to try, and she was "instantly" approved for the same property and dates.

    Rohan Gilkes poses for a portrait at his home and business headquarters in Tampa. 

Innclusive, a Tampa-based start-up, is a home-sharing platform that focuses on providing a positive traveling experience for minorities. Rohan Gilkes, the founder, said he created the organization after several negative experiences with Airbnb.
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]

  3. McMansions, state sewage order on tap at St. Petersburg City Council

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council is set Thursday to vote on two major issues: controversial zoning changes aimed at curbing big McMansion-style homes and a consent order with the state that will require St. Petersburg to fix its ailing sewage system.

    Two big, blocky homes on the 2300 block of Dartmouth, Ave N under construction in April. Several new homes under construction.
in St. Petersburg's Historic Kenwood Neighborhood are too big, residents complain. The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday is set to consider ordinances aimed at curbing the construction of big "McMansions." [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Tom James and wife, Mary, talk about their James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — As a child, businessman and philanthropist Tom James loved cowboy movies, an affinity that would later play out in a vast collection of Western art amassed over the years with his wife, Mary.

    Tom and Mary James at the site of the Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.
Photo courtesy of Raymond James
  5. A reliable Rick Scott ally, Pete Antonacci, named CEO of Enterprise Florida

    State Roundup

    Pete Antonacci, who last week made headlines when he advised scientists to stay in their lane rather than criticize his water agency's work on Everglades restoration, is getting a new job.

    Pete Antonacci, an attorney seen here in 2009, has served many roles for Gov. Rick Scott: general counsel, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District and now, CEO of Enterprise Florida.  [
COLIN HACKLEY | Special to the Times]