Five finalists chosen for Toledo SOUP grantsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 30 proposals were submitted for the inaugural Toledo SOUP event, a microgrant dinner series organizers plan to offer quarterly in and around Toledo.
“We definitely received a lot of submissions — 32 in all, with a few more that trickled in after deadline that we weren’t able to consider,” said Anneliese Gryta, one of Toledo SOUP’s organizers. “We were hoping for as much diversity as possible and we did receive that. It was great.”
Organizers narrowed the submissions to five finalists, who will present their proposals at a community soup dinner March 4. Admission is $5. The winner, which will receive all the admission money, will be the proposal that gets the most votes.
“It was tough work,” said Gryta, an attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow with local nonprofit Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE). “I would definitely say there were many more proposals that were fantastic than we could possibly select for presentation at the dinner. We had some people that we’re really, really hoping will resubmit in the future.”
The event will take place at the Davis Building, 116 10th St., between Monroe Street and Jefferson Avenue in Downtown Toledo. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., proposals will be presented at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served around 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be soup made by Pam Weirauch of Pam’s Corner and chef Timothy Wright along with bread and salad. Voting will take place after dinner.
“We just hope to see a large number of people come out and support the dinner because the more people that come, the more money will go to the winner selected by the group,” Gryta said.
The five finalists are:
- tart::projects (submitted by Kimberly Adams): “tart::projects is a newly formed organization geared toward promoting excellence in the arts,” according to SOUP’s website. The long-term goal is to form a multidisciplinary artist-in-residency program that would house about 20 emerging artists at a time from around the world. With lengths of stay ranging from two to six weeks, the project has the potential to house more than 250 artists in a year.
- Glass City Pedicabs (submitted by Maxwell Austin): Glass City Pedicabs is a bicycle taxi company that provides transportation to the Downtown, Uptown and Warehouse District neighborhoods for games, bars, lunch hours and more. The three-wheeled bikes are nonmotorized and completely “green,” with drivers working for tips. For more information, visit facebook.com/GlassCityPedicabs.
- Glass City Goat Gals (submitted by Elizabeth Harris and Unique Jones): The vision of Glass City Goat Gals is to start a vegetation management and weed-control business, providing professional, quality and eco-friendly services to public and private landowners for both small and large properties.
- Toledo’s PET Bull Project (submitted by Cindy Reinsel): Founded by a group of dog owners, lovers and trainers, the project’s three main goals are to prevent animal cruelty and dog-fighting in our community; to educate youth on how to treat animals humanely, avoid dog-fighting, gangs and drugs, and the advantages of spaying and neutering; and to help people become responsible pet owners and good advocates for their breed. For more information, visit toledospetbullproject.com.
- Force Within Community Garden (submitted by Beth Lewandowski): Force Within is a youth group that meets in ONE Village and works to make a better community for themselves and the Old North End neighborhood. The group plans to build a community flower garden in a vacant lot at the corner of Lagrange and Bancroft streets and interest other youth in completing and maintaining the garden and taking pride in their neighborhood.
The Toledo SOUP initiative is part of an international microfinancing movement that has been building for years and gaining momentum in recent months, organizers said.
“When you look out in the Toledo community, what I see is so much potential,” Gryta said. “It’s a community where I think the time is right for people to take control of their own economic destiny. So all we can do to support our artists, our entrepreneurs, our community groups in order to be successful, I think we need to take advantage of.”
Even the proposals that don’t win will gain exposure and make connections in the community, said Paula Ross, another Toledo SOUP organizer.
“There are many purposes, including encouraging people who have good ideas and just need a small boost to make it real,” said Ross, a research associate at the University of Toledo’s Urban Affairs Center and board member of local nonprofit Toledo Choose Local. “We’re also interested in community-building. Perhaps other connections can come out of that gathering.”