Awesome Tallahassee was born earlier this year with the dream of jumpstarting projects that benefit Tallahassee. Ten professionals, Democrats and Republicans alike, have united to donate $100 a month towards the cause. Together, they offer $1,000 every month to Tallahassee-based groups or individuals with ideas that benefit Florida’s Capital City.
Funds are awarded monthly, with deadlines for the following month’s $1,000 on the 15th of the month. Students interested can find more information about Awesome Tallahassee can be found on their website.
Two of the ten influential professionals are graduates of the School of Communication, Tim Center and Steve Schale. Both have been making their careers in the Tallahassee area since their time at Florida State and are excited to invest in tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
Steve Schale graduated in 2009 from the School of Communication’s Communication and Media Studies graduate program. “While I was in grad school, I took six months off to manage Obama’s campaign in Florida,” Schale said, during a phone interview. “I had to miss a group presentation and lied to my professor about why I couldn’t make it… then he read about it in the newspaper.”
Schale went on to start his own company, Schale Communications. He’s worked on campaigns for Gwen Graham, Charlie Crist and President Obama.
He received a call from Jon Costello, a government consultant and adjunct professor at Florida State, about an idea that will fund projects that benefit Tallahassee. Schale agreed and joined Awesome Tallahassee, then helped fund the inaugural project this month.
“For me, I’ve worked in the political arena for my whole life – I worked my first campaign at twenty one for the legislature,” Schale said. “I realized that the kind of work I do is kind of, by nature, selfish. I put a lot of time into my career and my candidates. Awesome Tallahassee lets me advocate my responsibility as a community citizen.”
Tim Center graduated in 1988 from his undergraduate program in Political Communications and went on to complete a law degree at Florida State.
“My experiences at CCI really shaped the course of my career,” Center said. “The Ad Club did a logo redesign for the Tallahassee Chamber and I met the head of the Chamber through that and I went to work for the Chamber while I was in school.”
Inspired by the civic leaders who surrounded him, he completed a law degree but never went into practice. Instead, he began work for the legislature, working for Governor Jeb Bush and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Today, he is the Executive Director of Sustainable Florida and works to change the futures of low-income and impoverished people in Florida. “We create a stronger social fabric that can support stronger communities,” explained Center. “It’s about making quality of life in Florida stronger for the next generation.”
Center was invited to be a part of Awesome Tallahassee and he’s excited to be a part of an initiative that crosses political affiliations. “Giving is the main denominator,” he said. “This is us taking care of our community and trying to recognize those who are helping the community.”