Citywide Detroit SOUP Board
Food & Volunteer Chair
Committed to breaking “the chains of financial bondage” in the pan-African community, CRYSTAL L. GUNN is a fiscal strategist whose female-focused economic organization has transformed lives throughout the Midwest. She is founder and CEO of the Amazing Woman Network, a social enterprise with a stated goal of “reclaiming personal power through mind, body and spirit.” In her leadership role, Gunn advises clients on how to forge advantageous social relationships and amass wealth over abroad spectrum of strategies, including home ownership, estates/inheritances, entrepreneurship and more.
She is also founder and CEO of AWN Cares, a non-profit which was born from the Amazing Woman Network’s pillar of increasing social involvement, which works to eradicate period poverty though The Red Dot Project.
She is also President of United Community Solutions, a non-profit which strives to strengthen, stabilize, revitalize and rebuild low-to-moderate income communities and Host of Amazing Women Speak, a weekly podcast providing inspiring and uplifting conversation for women around the world.
Ms. Gunn’s people-first business approach is summated in a quote by baseball legend,Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except on the impact it has on other lives.”
Ideator Chair/Pitch Coach
Daniel Stone works in the corporate world in technology and innovation. He runs a Shark Tank type event for his company and then manages the process of commercializing those products. He brings that experience with products and business pitches to participants of Detroit SOUP. He wants to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow and make Detroit even better.
Art Chair/Inclusion & Diversity Advocate
Lawrielle West is passionate about DEI and providing resources, community and connection to entrepreneurs. As a multifaceted business owner that prides herself on creating a safe space for leaders to learn, scale, and grow; this is truly a perfect role for her as a creative entrepreneur and trailblazer.
As a 2x graduate of the University of Michigan, and years of experience in nonprofit development and entrepreneurship, she is excited to start with a community based initiative like Detroit SOUP. With a background in Social Work, community organizing, and entrepreneurship, Lawrielle West brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She has worked with a variety of organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion, which includes: Detroit Women’s Leadership Network, Black Leaders Detroit, American Association of People with Disabilities, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. In this role as diversity and arts chair, West is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the community and make Detroit SOUP an equitable place for participants to thrive.
Lawrielle looks forward to this role as she truly believes that the arts have the power to bring people together and promote understanding and empathy across diverse cultures and communities. Through her work here, she plans to propel by creating a vibrant and inclusive community for all.
Detroit SOUP Mission & Vision
- A collaborative situation
- A public dinner
- A platform for connection
- A safe space
- A democratic experiment in micro-funding
- A relational hub bringing together various creative communities
- A forum for critical but accessible discussion
- An opportunity to support creative people in Detroit
Detroit SOUP is a microgranting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit. For a donation $5 attendees receive soup, salad, bread and a vote and hear from four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education,technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, enjoy art and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. At the end of the night, we count the ballots and the winner goes home with all of the money raised to carry out their project. Winners comeback to a future SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.
Detroit SOUP’s mission is to promote community-based development through crowdfunding,creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun.
We value community, creativity, collaboration, change, democracy, trust and fun.
What We Want to Do:
- Empower residents
- Help create jobs
- Allow people to establish new relationships and networks
- Promote action and change
- Foster critical dialogue
- Instill neighborhood pride
- Provide a deeper understanding of democracy
Detroit SOUP Winners
Detroit SOUP History
Detroit SOUP was founded in the Mexicantown neighborhood of Detroit in February 2010. Kate Daughdrill experienced the dinner from the originators (InCUBATE, a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and funding) of the SOUP idea in Chicago and approached Jessica Hernandez whose family owned the Mexicantown Bakery that had aloft above that was being used for storage. After a group (Amy Kaherl, Katie Barkel, Vanessa Miller, Amanda LeClaire, Phreddy Wischuesen, Dan Demaggio, Erin Ellis, Tom Joseph) had collaborated on a Women’s event just months before continued to work together to make the dinner happen. It started because the group wanted to collaborate and work together while there was an idea that we felt could empower and connect the community while exploring newart practices.
In 2016 Amy Kaherl gifted Detroit SOUP to Build Institute, since then it has become one of Build’s beloved programs and we continue to carry and expand upon its legacy.