There is no shortage of great ideas stirring in the minds of creative Winnipeggers, but there is often a shortage of money to make them a reality. A new and innovative micro-funding event called Winnipeg Soup could help change that.
Crowd-funding websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have helped many people and organizations raise money to support a project, but those internet-based platforms are impersonal and not always a great fit for small-scale fundraising.
By contrast, Winnipeg Soup is decidedly low-tech and locally focused. It provides Winnipeggers with big ideas but small budgets with an opportunity to pitch those ideas directly to an audience who, for a small donation, can vote on the best proposal and enjoy a bit of delicious soup at the same time.
As explained on their website, the concept works as follows:
“You come to the event, give a pay-what-you-can donation and eat some food. While that’s happening, community members get up on stage and present an idea they have to make Winnipeg better. You talk it over with your table-mates and then vote via secret ballot — and the winner goes home with the entire door take, to make their project a reality.”
Melissa Hiebert, co-founder of Winnipeg Soup, had heard about the success of the original Soup initiative in Detroit and was involved with a group in Vancouver that hosted Soup events in that city’s Downtown Eastside.
“I thought that this would be a great project to bring to Winnipeg,” explained Hiebert.
“Though I spend most of my time in Vancouver, Winnipeg still feels like home and I feel tied to the people and the communities here. I wanted to try to do something to support the amazing people and organizations that have already done so much for the city.”
While the success of the Soup concept in Vancouver and Detroit inspired the Winnipeg version, the root of the idea stretches back to community dinners in Chicago that were held to raise money for charity.
There are certain things that all cities have in common, and the need to raise money for various endeavors, the effectiveness of community engagement, and a love of food are among them. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that pulling these elements together into a single event has been a success in the past. If this initial Winnipeg Soup is a success as well, it could become a regular event in our own community.
“I think in a lot of ways Winnipeg is a leader when it comes to social innovation, programming and grassroots initiatives, and one day I would love to see Winnipeg become known as The Place for these sorts of activities,” said Hiebert.
The inaugural event will take place at The Handsome Daughter, 61 Sherbrook Street, on Tue. July 19 at 7 p.m.
There will be an opportunity to mingle with the presenters and to network with other participants, and of course to give a boost to one of four interesting initiatives.