Soup dinner lifts Duluth community projects off the ground

Kat Hansberry, 23, looks to better the community through - of all things - soup.

Duluth Soup is a micro-granting event and non-profit that allows people from the Duluth area to pitch their ideas on how to better the community. Philanthropist Kat Hansberry is leading the event.

From building a playground, to making costumes for a community play, to buying Christmas gifts for the less fortunate, Duluth Soup aims to fund local passion projects.

“We want to bind it to the whole community,” Hansberry said. “[It’s] by the community, for the community.”

On Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. the community is invited to share a bowl of soup and mix ideas. Attendees will receive a bowl of soup, a salad, and a vote for just five dollars. The event is being held at The Red Herring Lounge.

Anyone can submit a proposal, but only the public who attend the dinner can vote on the top four picks by the Duluth Soup originators. The project with the most votes will receive all of the money collected at the front door.

Not only are the profits going for a local cause but all of the food and beverages will be from local sources.

Jason Wussow, proprietor of Beaner’s Central, will supply the soup.

“It’s an experiment -- letting people try our soup and supporting a good cause,” Wussow said. “It was her idea. At first, it was small and stinky.”

Added Hansberry: “It’s something I can stand behind.”

Hansberry hopes to hold a similar event every three months. She also has visions to expand the locality around Duluth and even into Superior.

“It would be called Sup Soup,” Hansberry said about expanding to Superior. “I’m really only in this for the eventual pun.”

Hansberry is using a similar model to a Detroit-based group with which she has been working closely.

According to an article in The Detroit News, the first Detroit Soup raised just $110. Thirty-one dinners later, Detroit Soup celebrated its third anniversary with its largest grant yet. The crowd of 325 diners gave the winning project $2,147.15.


Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the author misnamed the proprietor of Beaner's Central. The story has been updated to show the name Jason Wussow rather than John Wussow. We apologize for the error.

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