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Detroit SOUP’s micro-grant program expands with Knight Foundation funding


Detroit, Mich. – Detroit SOUP, which gives micro-grants to creative social entrepreneurs, is expanding to neighborhoods throughout the city with $80,000 in funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Detroit SOUP works through a monthly dinner, where citizens gather to hear four proposals from groups launching art, urban agriculture, and social justice programs in Detroit. People pay $5 for soup, salad, bread and a vote. After hearing the proposals, citizens vote on the project they think would benefit the city of Detroit; the winner receives the money collected to launch and the newfound support of hundreds of community members.

True to the spirit of micro-lending, these small grants often provide the seed money to allow bourgeoning entrepreneurs to begin turning their dreams to reality. The Empowerment Plan, for example, a nationally-regarded company producing attractive winter coats and sleeping bags for Detroit’s homeless, launched at Detroit SOUP.

Knight Foundation’s support will allow Detroit SOUP to expand its model to multiple Detroit neighborhoods, including Highland Park where former Detroit SOUP fund recipients started a new chapter.

The Knight support will also help generate content and updates about SOUP participants, and form new community partnerships to help citizens engage with social entrepreneurs outside the monthly dinners.

“We are excited to grow SOUP in a wide range of ways,” said Detroit SOUP organizer Amy Kaherl. “Our platform enables Detroiters to collaborate on social impact. We have seen past winners develop non-profit and for-profit businesses. We have also witnessed a couple marry, goods and services exchanged, and people receive jobs after the shared experience of SOUP.”

“In two years, Detroit SOUP has proven itself as a simple, resonant platform through which hundreds of Detroiters engage and support the city’s movement of social entrepreneurs,” added Rishi Jaitly, program director/Detroit for Knight Foundation. “We are delighted to help the effort fully realize its potential as a community of citizens advancing social change in Detroit.”

In Detroit, Knight Foundation supports projects that enable more people and institutions to engage with the city’s growing movement of social entrepreneurs, as Detroit SOUP does.

Detroit SOUP has been featured in The New York Times, Dwell Magazine, GOOD, South by Southwest, and this month’s issue of Oprah Magazine. For more information about Detroit SOUP, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


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