Awesome Idea

Has anyone else heard of the Awesome Foundation? Yeah, either had I until recently.

The Awesome Foundation, which was founded in Boston back in 2009 and now has 85 chapters in 18 different countries, distributes $1000 in grants every month. It really is as simple as that. You can apply for any reason, and if you are chosen, you will be awarded $1000 to help make your dream a reality. Each chapter is made up of a group of people who contribute their money, which, when pooled together, equals $1000. As a group, the chapter then selects who to award the money to.

I have had an idea for a book about the Grand Wailea resort, the place I have worked for the past 13+ years, for quite a while now, but I realize that it will take time and money to photograph, write, and finally publish this book. Last week I became aware that I could use $1000 towards making my book project a reality, so I submitted my application online.

Unfortunately, Maui does not have an Awesome Foundation chapter on island, but there is a chapter based on O’ahu. The guidelines on their website specifically say that only applications for O’ahu based ideas will be considered, but what the heck, I thought I would give it a go anyway. Just like my application for the sabbatical at work, I can’t win if I don’t apply.

Another week, another entry form. This is becoming a habit.

You can read my application below.

Tell us about your awesome project! (2000 characters)

Even though this project is for the island of Maui, I would still like to be considered by the Awesome Foundation on O’ahu.

My dream is to create a photo history book about the Grand Wailea Resort. I have worked at the Grand for 13+ years, and I am an amateur photographer, so combining my knowledge of the resort, with pictures from the past and present seems like a fun idea and a way to help educate our guests of the culture and island they are visiting.

There have been books published in the past about resorts in Waikiki (The Royal Hawaiian, as well as the Sheraton Moana Surfrider). These books combined historical pictures and text to share the story of these two unique properties. The book I have in mind will be more of a visual delight, with snippets of information, history, and facts about the resort and Hawai’i.

My book idea about the Grand would have some history, and lots of photographs of the Grand, but the area I would like to focus on is the staff.

Working here for so long, I know that the ‘ohana that works at the Grand make the property what it is today. Sure, the location is great, the artwork and architecture are unique, but in my opinion it is the people who make the Grand Wailea so special.

I am hoping to tell the story of the ahupua’a Honua’ula, where Wailea is located, from pre-contact, until present-day, in hopes of sharing with my readers what the big resorts on Maui have taken from the community, as well as what they have given to so many people (both visiting and locals alike). I have a Hawaiian cultural ambassador helping me tell the story so I can get it right.

That is why it is irrelevant which island this project starts from. The story of Hawaiian culture, land development, history, and community is the story of every Hawaiian island.

I hope to do my small part in educating as many readers as I can. I will try to achieve this one page, one story, and one photo at a time.

Mahalo for your consideration.

How will you use the money? (500 characters)

The money will be used to help with publishing costs down the line. Although I am still in the writing and development stage (which costs nothing but time), I know I will eventually need to raise funds to actually get this book published. I could also use the money to offer rewards or incentives if I choose to start a crowdfunding program to raise more funds.

Tell us a little about yourself. (500 characters)

Since that fateful day in August of 2003, I have been at the Grand in a multitude of roles and different departments. Everyday I share my love for the Grand, the island of Maui, and exploring Hawai’i with guests during a typical day. I have interacted with thousands of visitors and love getting to know them.

I love my wife, photography, writing, traveling, and my job.

Lucky we live Hawai’i! Maui nō ka ʻoi!

I write and maintain a blog www.cyngle.com. You can find me on Instagram @holoholophoto

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Vincent Lorusso Written by:

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