Detroit SOUP Dinners Microfund Local Creative Projects

Published on October 10th, 2013 | by

Detroit SOUPA unique microfunding venture is helping to give creative projects in the Detroit area a boost, via a monthly community dinner experience.

Detroit SOUP offers the chance for participants to get soup, salad, bread, and a vote for their choice of who will receive the funds from the dinner, all for just $5.

“Detroit SOUP is a microgranting dinner celebrating creative projects in Detroit. For $5 you receive soup, salad, bread, and a vote. You will hear from four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology, etc., who have four minutes to share their idea and then field four questions from the diners. We eat, connect, share resources, and vote on what project you think should win the money gathered from the night. When the night nears to a close we count the ballots and whoever has the most votes takes home the money from the door.” – Detroit SOUP

The roots of Detroit’s program came from an idea from InCUBATE, which began holding a version of the program in Chicago called Sunday Soup, and the idea has now reached across the country, with other locations hosting their own versions of this microfunding event.

“The Soup Grant is a grassroots model for funding small to medium sized creative projects through community meals. The basic formula is that a group of people come together to share a meal and that meal is sold for an affordable price. All the income from that meal is given as a grant to support a creative project. Grant applications are accepted up until the meal, everyone who purchases the meal gets one vote to determine who receives the grant. The grants are completely unrestricted and will be awarded at the discretion of the customers.” – Sunday Soup

Detroit’s sessions began in 2010 in the Mexicantown neighborhood, thanks to the work of Kate Daughdrill and Jessica Hernandez, and the model is now expanding to different areas in the city. A recent grant from the Knight Foundation is expected to help the efforts, by giving them a mobile platform to travel to neighborhoods across the city:

“To engage more Detroiters in giving to creative projects, Detroit SOUP will convert a bread truck into a portable space where people can meet to microfund ideas. With the Detroit SOUP model, participants pay $5 for dinner and vote on which project should receive the pooled funds. The SOUP truck would have a foldout, portable stage for presentations and performances. The group hopes the truck ensures that residents throughout the city have a hub to share ideas that can transform neighborhoods.” – Knight Foundation

Find out more about how to start a SOUP event in your community, or connect with other like-minded people at Sunday Soup.


About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!