Kimberly Baguil with the pot of donations for Swim 1922 (Photo credit: Christopher Montgomery)

By Raquelle “Rocki” Harris

The Detroit community came together on Sunday, June 2, 2019, for Detroit SOUP, a micro-granting dinner focused on highlighting creative projects in the city.

Raquelle “Rocki” Harris

Held at the Jam Handy, attendees gave a suggested donation of $10 for dinner and a chance to support a local business with funding from the donations. There were four presentations from aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs and business owners. Ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, education, technology and more, each of the projects fulfills a need in the community.

Positivity and a desire for common goals were themes throughout the evening.  Since coming to Detroit in 2010, more than $100,000 has been raised and given directly to businesses that benefit the community. The presenters from the June 2, Detroit SOUP were:

Michael Craig of the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Craig is an educator for students with cognitive impairments. His goal is to provide vocational horticulture skill acquisition for special needs students leading to employment while growing produce for the Detroit community.

Desmond Burkett and Julian Trombly from the cooperative Public Thrift, a worker-owned thrift store in Detroit. Their goal is to ensure donated goods are kept within the community and that employees earn a living wage.

Racheal Allen, who became a mother at the age of 17, pitched her Motherhood Mentors mentorship program. It matches teenaged mothers with successful mentors who were also teenaged mothers.  She believes “entrepreneurship is an equalizer that can and should be the pathway out of poverty.”

Kimberly Banguil presented on Swim 1922, a partnership between Sigma Gamma Rho Inc. sorority and USA Swimming. Their mission is to promote water safety and increase swim ability in order to avoid accidental drownings in the Black community. “African-American kids drown at three times more of a rate than their our counterparts,” Banguil said.

Following the presentations, the audience asked each presenter four questions about their respective projects. Once dinner was served and voting was done, Banguil was chosen as the winner, receiving $1,236.40.

Swim 1922 will provide swim lessons to 1,000 Metro Detroit youth from Olympic silver medalist Maritza McClendon.

Carrying energy-filled upliftment, rapper Miz Korona performed during the event. The Detroit femcee is known for her role in the movie 8 Mile. As an independent artist she understands that Detroit SOUP is “impactful” and “sometimes all it takes is somebody to give you a little something to help.”

Detroit SOUP is presented four times a year by Build Institute. Build is a welcome center and resource hub that provides tools for business ideas to become reality. Entrepreneur in Residence Jacquise Purifoy promotes and connects entrepreneurs and business owners.

“As a native Detroiter, participating in SOUP means being a catalyst for change in a city that I love so much,” she said. “I’m excited to be on a journey with other Detroit people committed to seeing our community thrive.”

The next Detroit SOUP will happen in August.

This article originally appeared in

Detroit SOUP will help provide 1,000 Black children with swimming lessons

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