SoupGrant Lansing Welcomes Innovative Ideas
SoupGrant's January dinner. Winners Cuts And Convo's are pictured are holding the check.
SoupGrant Lansing offers a unique opportunity for individuals and organizations with innovative project ideas to receive micro-grants; the only requirement is the project must better the greater Lansing community. Project selection is based on the number of votes the project receives at SoupGrant Lansing dinners. Anyone who makes a suggested donation of $5 has the opportunity to cast a vote for the project they would like to see funded, and the project with the most votes wins. The amount of money awarded depends on the number of people who cast a vote, often exceeding $150.
Every third Thursday of the month forty to fifty people flock to the Grace Lutheran Church on Martin Luther King Boulevard to participate in the crowdfunding dinner. Heather Borden, founder of SoupGrant Lansing, started organizing the dinners in August 2013. The SoupGrant community has since been able to fund over 15 projects in the greater Lansing area.
Borden was inspired by Detroit SOUP, a micro-granting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit. The SoupGrant Lansing dinner consists of homemade vegan and vegetarian varieties of soup, provided free of charge, prepared by Terry Borden, Heather's Mother. The only requirement is that attendees bring their own spoon, soup bowl and cup.
Borden attributes her success to the community, “SoupGrant Lansing is now its own entity, no longer made up of a few individuals who want to see it succeed. It would continue by itself without its founding members because there is a desire to see local, community-based projects succeed in Lansing.”
Past projects have included Cuts and Convos, a start-up program offering the homeless free haircuts; D.A.N.C.E, a non-profit providing affordable arts training to youth; and NorthWest Initiative’s Food Systems Project, a program educating Lansing youth about nutrition and gardening techniques. Past winners are often invited back SoupGrant to share how they have used the funding.
“SoupGrant Lansing offers small organizations and individuals the opportunity to get exposure and much needed funding. Oftentimes non-winners still receive donations from dinner participants and some are invited back to present their ideas again to a new crowd of dinner attendees,” says Joel Meredith, SoupGrant marketing and outreach volunteer.
HerBlends of Plenty and Team Playmakers at St. Vincent’s will be proposing their ideas at the next SoupGrant Lansing dinner taking place Thursday, March 19th at 6:30. HerBlends of Plenty is looking to open up a brick & mortar, including a tea house, community supported kitchen, and a small fresh market. Team Playmakers at St. Vincent’s is a running and walking program at St. Vincent Children’s Home in Lansing.
Any creative and innovative project focused on making a positive impact in Lansing is eligible to compete for a grant. Applications and more information about SoupGrant Lansing is available on their website, www.soupgrantlansing.com. Borden and Meredith are especially interested in projects that are accessible to a wide community audience, such as events that are free or low-cost to attendees and events that actively reach out to under-served populations.
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