JONESVILLE, MICHIGAN – Like the classic children’s fable Stone Soup, even small ideas can grow in unexpected ways when enough people contribute their own valuable offerings into the mix.
On Thursday, May 2, Jonesville High School students will get a chance to pitch their best and brightest ideas to a group of community “investors” at the first-ever Jonesville SOUP, to be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Jonesville High School cafeteria.
The grassroots fundraising concept is a simple one, based on the original Detroit SOUP, in which community members contribute a small donation to share a simple meal while listening to their neighbors pitch ideas for small local arts and community-based projects. At the end of the evening, everyone votes on their favorite project, with the winner receiving the dinner’s proceeds to launch their dream.
Jonesville Village Manager Adam Smith was inspired to try a local version after hearing about the concept at a Michigan Municipal League seminar on government and community innovation, held on March 5 at the Innovatrium in Ann Arbor. Also in attendance were County National Bank Jonesville Branch Manager Don Germann and Hillsdale County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christine Bowman.
Smith put his own innovative twist on the idea by focusing the Jonesville version on student entrepreneurs. Within days, the idea had won the collaborative support of the village council, Jonesville Community Schools, and the Hillsdale County Chamber of Commerce.
Three student groups have signed up to vie for the chance to win $500 to put their idea into action. Anyone in the community is invited to attend. A $5.00 donation includes soup, salad, beverage, and the opportunity to cast one ballot. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP the Jonesville Village Office at 517-849-2104 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s the fusion of civic engagement, entrepreneurism, placemaking, micro-financing, and our next generation of leaders,” said Smith. “This is the kind of thing that could really start our young people on the road to success, and maybe someday they’ll look back and say this is where it all began. It’s all about building relationships, and us just being the facilitator.”