By Beth Heller
Say what you will about the coming of the cold, there are definitely a few things that feel good: that first sweater day, a fire in the fireplace, and after a summer of crunchy salads, that first hearty bowl of steaming soup. Yes, we’re totally grateful for soup on a cold day, but that’s actually not what we want to talk about today.
Last night our team enjoyed a different kind of soup, namely S.O.U.P., a local initiative in Support of Urban Projects (S.O.U.P.). Sponsored by the Young Professionals Advisory Council, S.O.U.P. is a crowd-sourcing event bringing together community members for a soup dinner, the proceeds of which will fund a philanthropic urban project. Part fund-raiser, part shark-tank, over the course of the evening, five community groups presented grant proposals aimed to improve the quality of life in Greater Green Bay. Groups had the opportunity to “stump” for five minutes on stage, then made the rounds to make their case while attendees enjoyed their soup.
This year, entrants included the Green Bay Bicycle Collective’s plan to launch an earn-a-bike program at their new community bike shop, Brown County Sweet Potato Project’s efforts to help citizens grow and donate sweet potatoes to food pantries, IBWarrior’s mentorship program for fifth grade boys, and the Better Block Project’s vision for revitalizing underused commercial space on Broadway. It was The United ReSISTERS, an urban art initiative aimed at empowering young immigrant women through artistic expression, run out of the Art Garage, that took home the award, which totaled over $1400, the largest award given to a S.O.U.P. recipient yet!
Like a steaming bowl of soup, last night’s event was both nourishing and comforting. The Greater Green Bay community’s strengths lie in our desire to connect and support winning ideas. While big enough and diverse enough to face “big city problems,” we are still small enough to come together to exchange ideas and float solutions.
And, like soup, our whole is greater than the sum of its parts.