Fourth Toledo SOUP microgrant dinner set for March 9Written by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
By Chase Will
On March 9, Toledo SOUP will host its fourth event in which local organizations give short presentations in the hopes of winning a community-funded microgrant.
Presentation topics include artist-painted fixtures to beautify the East Side’s Main Street, funding for broadcast’s focusing on the Toledo community, establishment of an urban goat farm, production of high-quality organic mushrooms and workshops for children who have siblings with special needs.
“I think some of these will really speak to a lot of people and bring a diverse group to the event,” said Emily Rippe, a Toledo SOUP committee member. “We want people to experience the event, really feel the community vibes and listen to each presenter with an open mind. Vote for the one you truly think will make the biggest difference here in Toledo.”
Thirty-three organizations submitted proposals and the finalists were selected by a team of judges.
“We tried to get a diverse group of judges who are high-profile and do a lot in the Toledo community already,” Rippe said. “It was so difficult to choose that even though only five get to present, we had some honorable mentions. These organizations won’t be eligible for the grant, but will be able to present for three to five minutes to get their project out there.”
Audrey Johnson, who previously received the Toledo SOUP grant for her organization Art Around Town, was asked to participate as a judge for the second time.
“We look for what best fits the community as a whole,” Johnson said. “It’s exciting to see who’s out there, what they’re doing. Being a recipient was a beautiful thing. Toledo SOUP’s process is very much my process, giving back to the community, empowering the community, being that voice.”
Genevieve Abalos is the most recent Toledo SOUP winner. Her organization, The Art of Hope, was founded to help women who are coming out of sex trafficking transition into a healthy lifestyle through a one-year program, including mentoring and job skill training.
“It was amazing,” Abalos said. “The people at SOUP were all really helpful. They gave us a list of other places to get help from as well.”
In addition to the main event, there will also be a bake sale and raffle during the presentations, and proceeds will supplement the grant. There will also be an after-party at The Attic on Adams, where bartenders will be serving soup-themed cocktails to help raise money for the next SOUP event.
“It’s a good, fun way to continue the conversation about Toledo SOUP if you’re not ready to end it just yet,” Rippe said. “Keep the conversations going, ask questions, maybe even pick the brains of the presenters or SOUP committee members.”
“It’s a beautiful thing to be where we are, to be involved in making a change and putting good energy out there for people with great ideas to gravitate toward,” Johnson said. “That’s what makes a good community. It’s nonpolitical, it’s nonjudgmental. It’s all about supporting people.”
The Toledo SOUP event will take place from 5-8 p.m. March 9 in the Flying Pig Café at the Toledo School for the Arts, 333 14th St.
For more information, visit www.toledosoup.com.