Think Small, Dream Big, Fund Local, Bake Sale

“Join us on the first Sunday of each month for a public soup dinner! Pay $5. Learn about creative projects happening in Detroit. Vote on which project to fund with the money raised from the meal that night.”

I first heard about Detroit Soup a couple of months ago. It’s a project with all the trappings of genius that follows a simple format:

  1. Buy soup. Your money goes into the pot.
  2. Listen to pitches or share your own.
  3. Vote for what you think is the best pitch.
  4. Pitch with the most votes gets the pot.

While there’s nothing new about open fora, town hall meetings, or benefit dinners, this is the type of format that forces you to seriously consider a very crucial question with regard to future prospects:

“What would you do if you came across a windfall of money to realize your dream?”

Of course we all have dreams, but how often have financial constraints impeded our dreams? Some of us have written proposals to grant giving bodies, pitched ideas at meetings to panels composed of people tailored to intimidate us; but what if the grant giving body was composed of yourself and everyone you know, plus a few strangers who may have just walked in with hungry bellies and open minds?

The New Slang Sing-Along we organized for next Saturday (please say you’ll come, please!) is a welcome break from all the big talk we’ve been handling at the last few Grade School for Yuppies events. It’s nice to drink. It’s nice to sing and watch movies and pay hard-earned cash and kill time over a few hours of gratification, but what if we could merge that with an event that contributes directly to someone’s big plan?

So how does this work:

  1. Sign-up to pitch an idea that needs funding, or just sign-up to listen (and support your friends’ ideas)
  2. Buy food. The money you spend goes into the pot.
  3. Eat, drink, be merry while listening to other pitches while waiting to pitch your idea.
  4. At the end of the night, you cast a vote for whoever you think should get the pot OF GOLD
  5. …the pitch with the most votes gets the pot…which is not full of gold and may not have enough in it to fully realize anyone’s dream, but hey, everyone goes home happy, right? Also, if you win the money, congratulations! You now owe it to yourself and EVERYONE around you to make it happen.

I asked my sister what she thought of this event, and her only comment was “People look so unattractive when they eat soup.” Uh, okay. Yeah. Fine, you don’t have to eat soup in front of anyone, let’s just call it food then. Or cookies, because really, what kind of person doesn’t like cookies?

The rest of the Soup Network is here.

And the guidelines for starting a meal based granting program are here.

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