Tonight, the soup was literally on at the Pig Iron Theater Company (www.pigiron.org) on 2nd Street in Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. The Pig Iron hosted this month's PhilaSoup meeting. If you haven't heard of PhilaSoup yet, it's "a monthly microgrant dinner meant to bring innovative and dynamic Philadelphia-area educators together, highlight the great work they are doing and fund some terrific projects. The vision for PhilaSoup is to be a monthly microgrant dinner that starts and ends with educators but is an access point to education for the whole city." It's the brainchild of sisters Claire and Nikka Landau, who were inspired by the Sunday Soup Movement, a national network of groups that award modest microgrants. If you want to read more about PhilaSoup on your own, you can visit their website at http://philasoup.com.
You'll be impressed when you read about this young non-profit's mission, but reading about it is nothing compared to experiencing it in person. My friend Susan and I signed up for the November dinner after reading about the program in an email from the Philadelphia School District. We are perpetually in search of ideas for raising funds for our school, so we thought it would be a good idea to explore this novel opportunity, and I am so glad we did.
PhilaSoup is an amazingly simple, but equally brilliant concept- bring people together who are passionate about education and empower them with the privilege of deciding how to spend the money they've donated to fund a worthy project proposed by one of their own. It felt so good to be a part of something so proactive and magnanimous, and I didn't even mention the delicious soup or the wine, yet!
This month the PhilaSoup organizers decided to deviate from their regular program format in order to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Instead of listening to project proposals from guests at the dinner, organizers shared DonorsChoose proposals from schools in communities that were devastated by Sandy, and then we voted on which of those programs to fund.
The beauty of the whole thing lies in its simplicity.You gather and network. You eat and drink. You listen, vote, and fund a worthwhile cause. There's no pretense or politicking. It's really about people taking action to better the educational opportunities being afforded to our children.
I can't wait to go back. I'm looking forward to the next meeting on December 2nd. I'm already working on a project proposal to help us get money for the books we need for Reading Olympics this year. If you live in the Philadelphia area, and this sounds like something you are interested in, you can order your tickets right on the PhilaSoup site.