Detroit SOUP Part II: The Proposals

Sunday’s SOUP was the 96th event.  In five years $84,617 has been raised to support local organizations.  Here’s information about the groups we heard from:

Detroit Little Libraries

Little libraries are a global movement Detroit is apart of.  Around the world there are 20,000 free standing, public boxes filled with books and 36 of them are in Detroit. Each box costs $400 to create, transport and plant. They are built with reclaimed wood and can even withstand Michigan’s weather. Kim Kozlowski initiated the movement in the city last year and it has been well received.  People borrow books on the honor system and each box is maintained by a local steward to make sure they are always stocked.

Proposal: Purchase books from diverse authors so that people, especially children, can connect with books on a more personal level.

Photo source: Michigan Radio
Spiritual House
Spiritual House is an ambitious project designed to tackle many of Detroit’s problems including illiteracy, homelessness, neighborhood violence, and proper nutrition.  James Jackson is the groups founder and gave an inspiring speech about his personal struggles – he graduated high school without being able to read and didn’t learn his ABCs until he was 21.  He hopes to create a safe-haven/support structure for individuals in Detroit’s neighborhoods to help them better their lives.
Proposal: Complete work on the bathroom and kitchen of the designated community center.
Mike and Jim started biking Detroit in 2001 and in 2010 started their non-profit, Bike Detroit.  With an emphasis on Palmer Park they were able to create 6.2 miles of trails, allowing visitors to experience the vast collection of natural species in Detroit.  Since then they’ve expanded their interest from bike trails to farming.  With the help of the Detroit Police Department’s mounted division, they have a created vegan compost to sustain 6 acres of farm land.  They found success in 2014 and look to expand the project in 2015.
Proposal: Buy 100% organic, GMO-free seeds for planting in the spring.
Photo source: Bike Detroit Facebook
The Tricycle Collective – Winner of $1,151
Michele Oberholtzer was a familiar face when she stood to give her presentation.  I met her in December at the United Community Housing Coalition Fundraiser, where she was recognized for her work to keep Detroit families in their homes.  The Tricycle Collective isn’t a biking organization, instead the three-wheeled trainer is used as a symbol for the work Michele is doing.  She is fighting to keep children in their homes and their neighborhoods strong.  1 in 6 Detroiters will face tax foreclosure in 2015.  Most of these homes can be saved with $500.  Lack of knowledge and fear of the unknown are leading factors in Detroit’s housing crisis.  The Tricycle Collective provides information to residents to help them avoid foreclosure.  It also provides direct financial assistance when it can.
Proposal: Wayne County is holding a Show Cause hearing event at Cobo Hall January 26th – February 2nd to work with residents who are behind on their taxes. The Tricycle Collective will use the Detroit SOUP funds to create printed material for attendees clearly outlining the options that are available to them.  The information will also be available online.

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