Youngstown SOUP Serves Up Support For Another Community Project

Community work can often be difficult and thankless. Organizing a community project? Probably even more so. And raising money for that project? Sigh.

Youngstown SOUP is a micro-grant dinner celebrating creative projects in Youngstown.
Originating in Chicago and made popular in Detroit, Youngstown SOUP is a micro-granting dinner celebrating creative projects in Youngstown. 

For $5, attendees receive homemade soup, salad, bread, and a vote.
Soup makers serve up their homemade dishes to attendees.

Four community projects are chosen and presenters have four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. 

Then, you eat and socialize.

After the break, the ballots are counted and whichever project receives the most votes takes home the money collected that night. The winning soup maker gets a gift certificate to a local grocery store. Winning projects report their progress at future events.

Attendees cast their ballot for the best project and best soup.
It's a simple but effective idea. If you have a good project or cause and the audience thinks so too, then you leave with support for it that night. The event is also affordable for nearly anyone to attend and those who do get a good homemade meal in addition to being able to support a local initiative.

SOUP is grant making without a lot of red tape. It's real life crowd sourcing. It's direct democracy. And success is proportional to support for the event itself (ie. turnout).

The winning soup maker receives a gift certificate to a local grocery store.
But most importantly, SOUP is a community building activity. That's a big deal in Rust Belt communities like Youngstown. 

The dinner brings together a diverse group of people that might normally never convene otherwise. It also brings exposure to projects or causes that many might not have been aware of.

It's inspiring as much as it is fun and helpful.

Last night, Youngstown held its second SOUP event at the Calvin Center for the Arts (click here for a recap of the inaugural event).

The Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association (below) received nearly $700 to purchase a cotton candy making machine. The group will use the machine to produce and sell their popular Mill Creek Maple Syrup in high-spun sugary fashion. Like the syrup itself, proceeds from the cotton candy will be used to support the neighborhood association and its projects.
The winning project takes home the proceeds from the evening.
Youngstown SOUP dinners are held every three months. The next one is scheduled for Sunday, October 26th from 7-9pm at the Calvin Center (RSVP here). 

If you support Youngstown, this is an event you will want to check out. And if you don't live in the city, it may be an event you'll want to consider bringing to your own community.

See you in October.