Baltimore Soup is a new endeavor dedicated to bringing people together over good food to network and raise funds for local projects through community-awarded microgrants. Attendees pay $5 to eat soup, listen to 4 projects, and vote on the project that wins the proceeds of the dinner. We’re inspired by Detroit SOUP, a group who first gathered in 2010 and since then Detroiters have given Detroiters over $40,000. We believe this model can change Baltimore too. Our first projects included: yoga mats for a Rec Center fitness program for young men re-entering the community, rodent-proof food storage containers for a school’s food pantry, a book scholarship for a young undocumented student, and supplementing memberships for a new food co-op. Our first dinner engaged a diverse group of city residents and we plan to reach an even broader audience. We have reached out to professors from MSU’s School of Community Health and Policy, young people at New Lens Productions, graduate students and professors at JHU’s School of Education, ministers at Loyola Blakefield, staff at Mi Espacio at CASA de Maryland, service providers at the 29th Street Community Center, and look forward to continuing to broaden Soup’s network. Our commitment is that each Soup reflects the same diversity of residents, talents, and dreams that exist within our city.
Baltimore inspires us. In 2013, our city strove to be the most giving in America and raised over $5 million on Giving Tuesday. Baltimore Soup expands on this giving nature to make Baltimore a place that not only gives more but does more. Small grants empower people to act instead of allowing their project to rest as a daydream. After submissions are accepted we meet with applicants to help them organize their own network of support and design their presentation. The Soup dinners offer applicants an opportunity for alternative forms of support as well--all attendees discuss how they can collaborate across projects or connect to other projects.
Funded by Baltimore, MD (February 2014)