Morning. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend, especially as the weather turned out so fine. G and I had a fairly productive one as anyone following on Instagram will have seen. We brought a cabin for the end of the garden, a tiny little abode that is going to become a bijou retreat. Cost next to nothing from eBay and we are slowing transforming it from its orange wooden ugliness into something a little more swank. We’ve still to build a fireplace, and sort out the interior and maybe insert a sky light but being the smallest thing ever that shouldn’t actually take too long.

Now I wanted to kick start Monday with one more post on Detroit. I know Detroit week is officially over but I couldn’t not tell you about this incredible business. Its called Detroit Soup in a nutshell ‘its a microgranting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit. For a donation of  $5 attendees receive soup, salad, bread and a vote and hear from four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, enjoy art and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. At the end of the night, ballots are counted and the winner goes home with all of the money raised to carry out their project. Winners come back to a future SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.

I whizzed over some questions to Amy Kaherl (one of the founders) to learn more about this incredible scheme:

What led you to launch Detroit Soup?

There was a group that had worked to build and make a Women’s event to celebrate women makers, artists, crafters, etc. and our friend Kate Daughdrill had experienced the dinner in Chicago and thought it would work in Detroit. We thought it would be a fun way to get together, celebrate, and hear what was going on in Detroit. I don’t think our beginning is anything to mimic but it was an amazing experiment that turned more serious as we continued to explore and expand.

Whats been the hardest part in launching the business?

Doing the dinners are the easy part but it is the community fundraising of building support in the neighbourhoods to build the dinners and get all the backend costs because we do so many dinners around the city!

How do you fund and decide which projects to back?

The community chooses what projects to fund. Presenters have four minutes to share their idea and receive four questions back from the diners. The diners get a chance to talk and interact with each other at the dinner and vote on the project they think should receive their collective dollars that were raised at the door that night. The community and the people are the choosers of the donation. It’s crowdfunding, but offline!!

What’s been the most successful part of the business so far?

I think it has been really exciting to watch projects in idea phase go from idea to implementation. To watch their lives change with the infusion of a little bit of capital. It’s the social and motivational capital that we build the most at the dinner and it is exciting to watch over the years the ideas grow and flourish and change the lives of the folks in Detroit!

What’s next?

Every day is a new adventure. We are going to keep growing the Citywide SOUP and we are going to continue to build and inspire SOUPS in communities we haven’t touched yet!

What do you see happening to Detroit in the next 5 years?

I’m not sure! We will see what tomorrow brings and ask questions from there!

Inspirational no. It makes me want to do so much more than I do. Help, empower, inspire, work harder,throw dinners like this giving people a chance to follow their dreams – so inspirational . Thank you Amy so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule!

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