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Detroit SOUP: A Crowdfunding Potluck That Celebrates And Funds Detroit Do-Gooders

If you’re hungry for community, conversation and change, come to Detroit SOUP’s monthly Citywide dinners at the Jam Handy. In addition to good company, you’ll also get a great meal.

Detroit SOUP is a microgranting potluck dinner that’s open to the public and celebrates creative projects in Detroit that benefit the community. During dinner, attendees learn about four projects that focus on topics like art, social justice, education, technology and urban agriculture. At the end of dinner, everyone votes for their favorite project and the winner receives part or all of the money collected at the door to help carry out their project.

What To Expect At Detroit SOUP

Doors open around 5 p.m. and the suggested donation ($5 – $10) is collected in a soup pot at the door. That donation gets you a meal and a vote. Dinner consists of (typically vegetarian or vegan) soup, salad, bread and any dishes brought by attendees. It’s a potluck after all, and everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share.

Here’s what to expect as you enjoy this community meal:

  • During dinner, four people each have four minutes to present their project to diners. Proposals start around 6 p.m. and typically last 25 – 40 minutes total.
  • After each presentation the audience can ask the presenter up to four questions about their project.
  • Once the presentations are complete, the audience has time to discuss, debate and deliberate before voting for the project they believe will most benefit the community.
  • At the end of dinner (around 8 p.m.) the votes are tallied and the winner is announced. Depending on if you’re at a Citywide or Neighborhood dinner, the project with the most votes will receive part or all of the money collected at the door.

The amount that’s awarded to the winning projects changes at each dinner and depends on how many people attended the dinner as well as how much they donated at the door. With an average attendance of around 200 people, that can be great seed money for these projects.

Citywide SOUP

Citywide SOUPs are put on monthly in their permanent home at the Jam Handy, a local venue located at 2900 E. Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Guests can find street parking on E. Grand Boulevard or Horton Street.

Since these dinners are larger and more costly, the suggested donation for Citywide dinners is $10. This allows half of the pot to go toward supporting SOUP’s initiative while allowing the winner to receive the other half of the pot.

Neighborhood SOUPs

Since its founding in 2010, Detroit SOUP has expanded its efforts to reach more communities in Detroit. Now partnering with neighborhood groups across the city, Detroit SOUP also hosts Neighborhood SOUPs in the following areas:

  • Brightmoor
  • District 3
  • Downtown
  • East Jefferson
  • Grandmont Rosedale
  • Hamtramck
  • Livernois Corridor
  • North End
  • Southwest
  • Spaulding Court
  • Central communities

Since these are smaller events, the suggested donation is $5. The winner will receive all of the money donated at the door, and all projects presented at these events must benefit residents of that specific neighborhood. All are welcome to attend Neighborhood dinners.

SOUP Rules

SOUP has two rules: the projects must benefit Detroit and presenters can’t use technology in their presentation.

There are no reservations required for a SOUP event. Dinner is first come, first seated. Guests are encouraged to bring a pillow to sit on, as you may be sitting on the floor. There will be a limited amount of tables with chairs and some low tables made from boards. Children are allowed at SOUP and encouraged to vote too.

When Is The Next SOUP?

On September 15, Detroit SOUP will be hosting a special Global SOUP to help fund projects supporting the immigrant community. The event will be hosted at Repair the World located at 2701 Bagley Street. There will also be a Grandmont Rosedale Neighborhood SOUP on September 26.

For more information on upcoming Citywide and Neighborhood dinners, check out the Detroit SOUP Facebook page.

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