Often times, it doesn’t take a lot of funding to spark community energy. Read about Farmville Downtown Partnership‘s SOUP event and become inspired to host your own similar event. Guest blogger, John Burton, executive director for the Farmville Downtown Partnership, describes how this inaugural event was very successful for the small community.
Good community, good music and good food. These are the ingredients Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP) brought together at their Inaugural Supporting Outstanding Urban Projects (SOUP) Community Dinner Event on April 1. SOUP is an event originating in Detroit and designed to engage the community by awarding grant money for the improvement of downtown. For months before the dinner event, FDP had been using social media and local service organizations to call for any individual or organization to submit proposals for projects to improve downtown Farmville.
The selection committee was thrilled to find that a total of 20 proposals had been submitted. After making some tough decisions, they were able to agree on the top five that were the most realistic, beneficial to downtown and new or unique ideas. These would be voted on at the dinner event.
Longwood University, which is adjacent to downtown Farmville, agreed to donate a 4:1 match to the event for a total amount of $5,000 to be distrubted.
Several elements came together to make the dinner event go off without a hitch. Longwood’s Center for the Visual Arts, located in downtown Farmville, provided a perfect location to hold the event, and the current display of local children’s artwork added a special touch. Aramark donated delicious tomato basil soup and chicken gumbo, and a local musician cranked up the amp and kept everyone’s toes tapping.
Actual soup was consumed, and the top five proposals were presented and voted on by everyone in attendance. At the end of the night, the grants were awarded. Those included $2,500 for increasing bicycle parking downtown, $1,500 to purchase and paint community-use bistro tables and chairs and $1,000 to build a mobile reading cart.
Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, the Farmville Downtown Partnership was able to engage the local community, discover new projects for future work plans and connect with new interested volunteers.