In spite of the cold weather and the continuing general malaise of winter, Jim and I motivated ourselves to attend Ann Arbor SOUP‘s third crowdfunding event, and we found the experience completely worth the effort.
The fundraising event/ community supper was held at LIVE, only a few blocks from home. We navigated the icy sidewalks of Ann Arbor and found ourselves welcomed by enthusiastic volunteers excited about being involved. The air was filled with strains of jazz and the scent of curry soup as we settled in to enjoy a cocktail before the presentations.
For a suggested donation of $5, we got soup, salad, and a vote. Four local groups had been selected to give 5 minute presentations on how their projects contribute to the community and what they would do with additional funding. We heard from A2Share, the Grange Junior Makers, Pilar’s Community Wellness Room, and the Wednesday Night Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market. After the presentations, it was time for supper and conversation. Jim had a fantastic lentil soup, and I tried the Curry Chicken. The meal included soups and salads as well as breads, cookies and cupcakes, both donations from local businesses as well as homemade contributions.
The winner of the evening was the Grange Junior Makers, represented by Patrick Haggood. He spoke of the joy of watching kids and parents building together and his group’s goal to involve more families in making projects at the Grange. His presentation won the support of the crowd and $943 from the evening’s donations.
I spoke to event organizer Isabella Morrison about starting the group and future plans. Ann Arbor SOUP was inspired by Detroit SOUP and an international range of community-based crowdsourcing events. In its short history, Morrison said that SOUP has moved from being an event largely attended by University of Michigan students to more of a mix of residents and students. The success of the event attracted 15 groups to apply for the chance to present at the third SOUP evening, and Izzy said selecting the presenters for this evening was not an easy job.
Izzy plans that SOUP will host another event in April, before she graduates from the U and moves on. She hopes that the organization will continue to bring the community together around supper and ideas that enrich the place where we live. With a full belly and a full heart, I do too.