What would you do with $100,000? The Chase Mission Main St Grant explained

Perhaps you’ve noticed the sidebar.  Perhaps not.  I have joined the contest for one of 20 $100,000 grants from Chase.  I’ve submitted my answers to their questions and now need to pass the next phase.  That’s where you come in.  I need 250 votes in order to make it to the judging round.


Why should you vote for me?  What are you supporting?  I thought I’d share some of my application responses here so that you can get an idea of what I’m trying to do with all of this.


As with good stories, three events inspired my business.

  1. In 2008, I had a potentially fatal heart episode. It changed my perspective on life. I realized how important every moment can be and the tragedy that is corporate zombiedom. I knew that I needed more than just a job.
  2. A few years later, I was asked to map my career path and I realized that my passions are about perspective – and that is understood through story. I knew I needed to make story the center of my efforts.
  3. Finally, I read Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Start-Up – which made it clear that I didn’t need investors and corporate governance to get started. I knew I could take action.

Storychick today is about building community through stories. I am a storyteller focused on story gathering and sharing.  I gather stories from everyday people all over our city and share them in performances and on an upcoming radio show. I teach people about telling and gathering stories – both adults and youth. I offer story services, such as gathering stories from event speakers and story-based tours to assist the visually impaired. I also create story-related papercrafts – artwork designed to inspire story telling and sharing.

While businesses continue to sprout up around story, many focus on business storytelling. My focus on using story to connect people is, I believe, rare. I have seen a few scattered small businesses across the country that talk in similar terms. These primarily work in disenfranchised communities or schools.

Each year of Storychick’s business has seen more visibility, more success, and more excitement – spurring new programs and opportunities. There are a lot of great efforts underway right now to celebrate our city and to solve our problems. I pride myself in leading such an effort and building our community story by story.

In the short term, I plan to expand my audience and visibility. This will be through the launch of the radio show, expanding the number of live performances, and increasing educational and consulting efforts. This also will include efforts to publish – both guest posts online and in online/print journals and magazines.

Further out, I will start to offer content for sale – starting with ebooks and toolkits, as well as traditional books (I have 3 in the works currently). This content will range from story instruction to collected stories to a memoir and a novel. I plan to become a local expert in story gathering and sharing, someone people reference and turn to regularly, and this will create new opportunities, as well.

After becoming a local expert and setting story fully in motion in Rochester, NY, I plan to focus on other markets – implementing similar programs through training, toolkits, and in-person consulting.

The grant would shorten the timeframe to achieve these goals – in part by allowing me the time to write, gather, and create and also through the networking and visibility afforded by the training and advertising budgets.


Feel free to ask questions.  Feel free to share this post or just tell people to go vote. ; )  I hope that I’ve earned your interest, at least, and that you’ll stick around to see how this all comes together.  It’s a grand adventure, this life, and I love sharing it through story.



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