Detroit SOUP

29 May
Detroit SOUP

Soup has been part of our culture since the first water-proof vessels were created – some estimates are as early as 6000 B.C.!  You can find soup recipes for most ethnic cuisines and taste preferences.  Today’s organization is using this versatile meal to bring people together to make a difference.

In February of 2010, Kate Daughdrill and Jessica Hernandez saw how InCUBATE, a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding, started a soup “potluck” in Chicago.  At these events, grant proposals were collected, a meal of soup was shared, and people were invited to pay, eat, and vote on which proposal should receive the funds raised during the event.  Kate and Jessica decided to bring the event to Detroit to create and engage with a community that is interested by the dialogue about the revitalization of Detroit.

Detroit Soup is now run by Amy Kaherl with a goal to put on a monthly dinner that supports creative people and endeavors while providing a safe space for dialogue and conversation.  They started with about 40 attendees and have grown in their first three years to over 200 attendees.  They raise and grant approximately $1000 at each event with over $30,000 raised during 35 meals.  Five of the groups who received grants have gone on to become nonprofits or small businesses.

Watch this short video to learn more about the dinners:

At the Detroit SOUP dinners, you pay just $5 for soup, salad, bread, and a vote.  Attendees hear from four creative projects around the idea of helping make Detroit better for four minutes each.  These ideas are in the areas of art, urban agriculture, justice, education, technology, and entrepreneurs.   The presenters each get four questions from attendees to help clarify the project, then attendees vote on the project they think should receive the money collected that night.

Amy Kaherl told me, “Our organization provides the opportunity for others to support others.  Those who come to SOUP choose the winner.  Detroit SOUP just provides the location and the possibility to interact with others.”

How can I help?

  • If you live in Detroit, volunteer to make some soup, salad or a dessert to share with the group.  You can also attend the next event to participate in the conversation.  Check their website for the next dinner.
  • Anyone can donate to Detroit SOUP on their website.
  • If you are interested in starting a SOUP event in your community, read the How to SOUP Guide written by Amy Kaherl.
  • You can also visit to see if there is a SOUP event in your community.

To learn more about the Detroit SOUP organization, visit their website at  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.  If you wish to start the dinner in your community, read the “How to SOUP guide”.

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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