Helping the Helpers

WRITER | MEGAN WESTERS
PHOTOS | IMPACT 100
Local Start-ups Give Back in a Big Way

When one thinks of organizations that exist to help other people, nonprofits are probably the first example that comes to mind. But who is helping nonprofits?

There is a small group of dedicated, hardworking, creative, and generous folks out there who aim to do just that, and they are coming up with some pretty creative ways to accomplish it. Many of these individuals are doing it themselves, while others are creating entirely new organizations. No matter the platform, both have the same goal in mind: to raise money for worthy causes.

Impact 100, for example, is a nonprofit organization with 43 chapters spread across the globe. For this women-owned, women-run organization, each member (who must be a woman) donates $1,000 to become a voting member for the year. Each chapter must have at least 100 members, as their goal is to award a $100,000 “transformational grant” to a local nonprofit or charity each year. Wendy Steele, a Cincinnati native, started the organization in 2001.

There are two Impact 100 chapters in Michigan, one in Traverse City and another in the Detroit area.

“It’s a collaborative giving model,” said Leslie Knopp, Impact 100 Traverse City’s president of the board of directors. Last year was the city’s first year for the Impact 100 chapter, and because they had 225 members, they were able to grant a total of $225,000, which was split in half and awarded to two local organizations: Inland Seas Education Association and PEACE Ranch. “The idea is that the grant is large enough to transform the programs that these organizations are running.”

But not all organizations are quite as large as Impact 100.  Soup and Bread–Traverse City is so small, in fact, that it’s not even considered an organization, according to Andrea Deibler, Soup and Bread–Traverse City’s manager and organizer.

“It’s more like an ongoing, monthly event that I organize in the winter, hosted by the Little Fleet,” she said.

The idea behind Soup and Bread is that a group of chefs will get together each month to make and serve soup for donations. Deibler chooses a local nonprofit or charity that the proceeds will go to, and each month those donations are given to the chosen organization.

“I started Soup and Bread when I moved to Traverse City four years ago,” said Deibler. “I had participated as a soup maker in a similar event with the same name, started by Martha Bayne, writer and bartender extraordinaire at the Hideout in Chicago.”

Deibler also owns a restaurant in Traverse City called Raduno, and she often participates in making soup for her own events. She describes this project as a collaboration between herself, the chefs she works with on the project, and the venue, the Little Fleet – an outdoor bar, patio, and area for food trucks to park and serve guests.

Over the first four seasons with this project, Soup and Bread–Traverse City has raised more than $23,000 and is anticipating an exciting fifth season. While the project was inspired by Ms. Bayne’s idea in Chicago, Soup and Bread has found its home in Traverse City.

Deibler admits, “I totally ripped off her idea when I moved here because I knew the Little Fleet would be a great venue, and it would be an awesome way to network with the food community while also doing something good.”

Organizations like these can be found throughout the state if you’d like to get involved. For more information about Soup and Bread or Impact 100, please visit Facebook.com/SoupandBreadTC or ImpactTC.org.