The Autumn 2017 edition of Toledo SOUP is scheduled for October 8 at the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center. Attendees pay $5 for soup, salad, bread and the chance to vote, while Glass City area residents present ideas for programs to better the community. The winning presentation takes home 100% of the money raised.
“Since winning, the recipients and their ideas have grown and evolved in unexpected ways and they continue to influence and improve Toledo to this day,” said Lyndsey Stough, interim executive director of Toledo SOUP.
The Toledo SOUP Social has become a local tradition since its inception in 2012. The event has awarded micro-grants to 11 different organizations to bolster their efforts. A look at past winners illustrates the impact these grants have made in the community.
Glass City Pedicabs
The inaugural winner of a Toledo SOUP grant in March 2012, Glass City Pedicabs bills itself as the first 100% green transportation company in the city, carrying riders in bicycle-drawn carriages to their destination. The company used the $1000+ grant to purchase insurance and spare parts for their cycles.
Art Around Town
Art Around Town, a program of the Jamil Lewis Multicultural Center for the Arts, won over $850 at a SOUP social. Designed to encourage creative and educational art activities among Toledo’s youth, the program used the funds to take eight of their students to Chicago to learn about Chinese culture.
The Art of Hope
The sole Toledo SOUP event of 2013 was won by the Art of Hope, a project providing housing and counseling for women rescued from sex trafficking. Looking to improve their Center, the $1000 awarded was used to purchase both exterior and interior paint for the house.
A tie vote at the March 2014 Toledo SOUP event meant that the $2,168 grant was split between two winners:
Glass City Goat Gals
Glass City Goat Gals used its winnings on its longstanding project to transform abandoned plots of land on Mentor Drive into an urban farm. We recently featured founder Liz Harris and her urban farm in our recent story on The State of Urban Agriculture.
New Life Urban Agriculture
Meanwhile, Derek Bunch of New Life Urban Agriculture earned support for his plan to buy supplies and equipment to grow organic mushrooms in his home to sell to area chefs. While it didn’t go as planned, Bunch now uses the room to raise worms and grow (compost) organic soil with the intention of using the compost tea to replace regular fertilizer in my gardening and landscaping business, GreenSpace Solutions.
FDCA Late Night Basketball
As part of a “Summer Luau” themed event in June of 2014, the Frederick Douglass Community Association earned over $700 for its late-night basketball program. Designed to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble by giving them something fun to engage in, the additional funding was credited with providing funds for the basketball, first-aid kits and security.
Autumn 2014 & Autumn 2016
Soul City Boxing and Wrestling
The only two-time recipient of a SOUP grant, Soul City Boxing and Wrestling has earned over $2000 combined through winning votes. A nonprofit gym with the anti-gang, anti-violence goal of giving young athletes a place to go after school, the gym’s website notes a stake in the 30% drop in crime on Junction Avenue since it was founded in 2008.
Sisters in Law
The recipient of the largest single grant in SOUP history ‚— over $2500 — Sisters in Law is a program definitely worthy of the distinction. A group of female attorneys who work pro bono to provide legal advice and guidance to single moms, the program was developed from Mom’s House, a nonprofit child care to help low-income single mothers work toward bettering their education. The infusion of funds helped offset costs for the program from Mom’s House’s small budget.
The Harvey House of Northwest Ohio
The Harvey House, a drop-in community center for LGBTQ teenagers in the Toledo Area, has benefitted from the grant money it won during its SOUP presentation.
Kristin Angelo, board president and co-founder of Harvey House explains her presentation at SOUP, “It was really overwhelming. I’m not a huge fan of public speaking, and there were a lot of people there.”
Harvey House won nearly $1000 in grant money. “We used the funds from Toledo Soup to apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS,” Angelo said. “The majority of the funds went to that. And being tax-exempt has opened up doors for us, as far as grants and other fundraising opportunities. So using those funds propelled us forward.”
Long Live the Roulet Dies
Perhaps the most curious title among SOUP winners is the name of a preservation project spearheaded by Rachael McCarthy of Deep in Design, Inc. The group purchased a 1930’s Percussion Press from the closing downtown location of Roulet Jewelers, and was looking for additional funds to offset the cost and bid on a set of historically significant dies that were used with the machine. Deep in Design was awarded over $800 to bolster its efforts.
Toledo Streets Newspaper
Since winning a grant in February 2016, Toledo Streets Newspaper has had a remarkable impact. A member of the International Network of Street Newspapers, the publication serves as a micro-enterprise, giving 50-60 homeless vendors at a time a product to sell. Since launching in 2014, the paper has grown from an 8-page publication to a 20-pages largely written and photographed by the vendors themselves.
The publication’s presentation at the SOUP Social, focusing on one individual, explained how the paper had a profound impact on her life. Toledo Streets won over $1,000 in micro-grant money, which was used to buy volunteer vests and signs, as well as to fund its Thursday morning breakfast meetings for their volunteers.
Refugee Food Box Program
A joint project between Food for Thought and Social Services for the Arab Community (SSFAC), this past summer’s winning program provides donated food to refugee families now living in the Toledo area. At the 5th-anniversary SOUP social this past May, voters awarded the joint effort over $1500 in grant money.
Attend Toledo SOUP’s next event:
Sunday, October 8 4-6pm $5
Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center
1225 Broadway St., 419-251-1655. toledosoup.com