Five months ago, Karen Cherven, started the Detroit International House from an abandoned home she rehabilitated in Pingree Park. With the help of internationals from more than 22 countries, Cherven has transformed a dilapidated house into a welcoming environment for immigrants.

“I’m a hometown Detroit girl and I never travelled outside of the state,” Cherven said. “I think this is such a great city, so why not expose internationals to Detroit while giving them a place to stay.”

Photo: Facebook/Detroit International House

Cherven was one of four Detroit residents who presented projects at Global SOUP, Friday, at the Ford Resource Engagement Center.

Powered by Build Institute, a program that offers courses to help people start their own business, Detroit SOUP and Global Detroit hosted the first Global SOUP, which supports immigrant communities in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, and Dearborn.

“Through our program, it’s important for everyone to have access to the resources and tools that we have,” said Jacquise Purifoy, build facilitator, Build Institute. “We want to uplift the community, while connecting with everyday people.”

Detroit Soup is a microgranting dinner that celebrates and supports creative projects in Detroit, surrounding the immigrant community. For a five-dollar donation, participants can have soup, salad, bread and a vote to choose from four presenters.

“Since 2010, we have put on this community potluck project where we can network and share ideas,” said Cassie Coravos, capital program manager at the Build Institute. “Our goal is to help support people in the early stages of their projects.”

Photo: Facebook/Detroit Soup

Since 2010, Detroit SOUP has raised more than $100,000 that have gone directly to community projects. Past SOUP winners have started nonprofits, local businesses, after school programs and park clean-ups.

During the SOUP, attendees are able to listen and vote on presentations that focus, art, social justice, education, social entrepreneurs, technology and urban agriculture. The money raised at the dinner helps to fund the winning project. Here’s how it works:

Photo: Detroit Soup

The five projects competing at Saturday’s event were Linglobal Education, Amagra Chocolate & Coffee Studio, The Olympiad, Detroit International House and D’Kalabash Cuisine Culture Conversation.

The community raised $414.25 for D’Kalabash Cuisine Culture Conversation, a free tasting event presented by Cleary University Culinary Academy and the Caribbean Community Service Center which showcases ethnic cuisine from local food businesses while facilitating cultural conversation.

Photo: D’Kalabash

Hannah Fine, has attended nine Detroit SOUP events throughout the city.

“For me, Detroit SOUP is all about the community aspect. I’m always meeting new people and exploring new areas in the city,” Fine said. “I’m always amazed and impressed about what goes on and the projects that people develop.”

The Ford Resource and Engagement Center is proud to host Detroit SOUP. We look forward to more events to come.


Read Next: Ford Donates New Transit to Support Local Nonprofit Tackling Homelessness in Detroit.


Kyla Heat

Kyla’s family and friends describe her as a walking Encyclopedia when it comes to everything pop culture, beauty, fitness and fashion. Kyla knew she wanted to be a writer when she began writing short stories and poems for her family. A true Michigander at heart, Kyla graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in journalism and attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts. Along the way, she has interviewed everyone from, Idris Elba, Kerry Washington, Jack Kevorkian, Robert Kennedy Jr., Joel Osteen, Russell Simmons and Wiz Khalifa. After a stint working at a psychic shop and producing shows for an all talk radio station on iHeartRadio, Kyla landed at The Detroit News, working as an editorial assistant and reporter. She worked at PBS Detroit, as a social media manager before joining the Urban Content Studios team. When she is not writing, Kyla likes to spend time with family, shop and compete in fitness bikini competitions.

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