Save the Monarchs Wins Awesome Bend Pitch Night


(Photo above: winner Katya Spiecker with check | courtesy of Awesome Bend)

Katya Spiecker was the winner of the second quarterly Awesome Bend Pitch Night with a proposal called Save the Monarchs. Five finalists presented ideas to “make Bend more awesome” on July 21 at the Deschutes Brewery Tap Room. Spiecker walked away with the $1,000 grant from ten trustees who each donated $100, plus an additional $236 contributed by a 75-person audience, to make her dream a reality. With the money, an organization called Monarch Advocates of Central Oregon will be established to launch a native milkweed seeding campaign and educational program to protect the endangered butterfly population.

The Monarch butterfly population has dropped by 90 percent since the 1990s. One reason is loss of habitat. There is only one food source for Monarch caterpillars and that plant is milkweed. Bend is directly in the Monarchs’ migratory path and they pass through our region twice every year. “They are here now and we have a great opportunity to help them survive by planting the native milkweed their lives depend on,” said Spiecker.

The group will work with Bend’s eleven community gardens to build raised beds and plant native milkweed. They will create signage to educate people about milkweed, monarchs, and other native pollinators. They will also host a public presentation by a local monarch and explain how to plant native milkweed in one’s own garden.

Awesome Bend is now accepting applications for proposals that will make Bend an even better place to live, work or play for its next quarterly grant at The application deadline is October 1, 2015. Finalists will be notified and invited to present 5-minute pitches at the next Awesome Bend Pitch Night which will be held October 20th 6pm-8:30pm at the Deschutes Brewery Tap Room, 1044 NW Bond Street in downtown Bend. The event is free and open to the public.

What Is Awesome Bend?
Awesome Bend’s mission is to inspire and support ideas that make Bend an even better place to live, work and play.

The guidelines for grant selection include:
1. The project must be feasible and completed with $1000 within three months of the award.
2. The money cannot be used for personal expenses or general operating expenses for an established charity.
3. Grantees agree to return to the next Pitch Night and tell the community about their project, inspiring future awesomeness.

For more information about the Pitch Night, to apply for a grant or to apply to become a trustee, please visit or email


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