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Grass-Roots Micro-Granting

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How to get creative funding and how you can create a grass roots micro-granting event.


A neighborhood based in Chicago got an idea to explore different ways to get funding for their projects and start-ups.

Incubate Chicago was started.

What is a micro-granting dinner?

It’s called a “SOUP” – a collaborative project, includes a public dinner, based on a democratic vote to fund the projects that are presented and they are a great way to support creative people.

People present their ideas to people who attend the meetings, it’s a potluck soup or salad. They chose a warehouse, as they found it allowed for raw ideas to be shared.

They have witnessed Detroiters’ to give back to other Detroiters’ over $25,000, which has helped people to beth to their next step. Five of the groups have formed their own non-profits and one L3C. Projects like keeping parks cleaned, collaborative art has been created. Beyond the financial aspects, there have been many communities connecting, people have formed new opportunities, partnerships and all from a place to dream in a safe place.

Detroit Soup is a recipient of a large grant from the Knight Foundation.

If you like this idea, which I love it.. here’s some people to think about having on your team.

Designers, Artists, Thinker, Event Planners, Entrepreneurs, Photographers, City Council members, Social Media and Marketing professionals, Natural networkers and chefs or people who are foodies.

The Dinner is not a one time thing, it’s on going, Whether you create it to be a potluck, or ask farmers, chefs to cook for you – have a sign-up sheet at the door so people can decide what they are bringing next time. They have a bar set up to sell water, wine and beer to cover the costs. You can ask $5. – $25. for each person that attends. This entry fee will cover costs and to contribute to the organization that wins the pitch.

At the beginning the grant money that was going to the people that would win the pitch would be between $100-$300. It took them some time to increase the amounts.

Each presenter has about five minutes to share their idea and five minutes to answer the questions from the audience. Each presenter would provide a proposal sheet for each table. The dinner includes, soup, salad, bread and a vote!

The winners come back in a couple of months to share how they have used the money.

They would love to hear your story and aid in helping people with starting your dinners. You can find updated information at www.detroitsoup.com, or Facebook or follow us on Twitter

Interested in attending an micro-granting event in Fremont? Fill out the form and we’ll let you know when the first one is.

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Mari-Lyn Harris

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