What if a simple meal could help transform a neighborhood? That is what 2015 Mover & Shaker Carl Hildebrand is achieving through his organization Miami Soup, part of an international grassroots network for funding small to medium-sized projects designed to enhance the quality of community life.
Miami Soup is rooted in a simple concept. The community is invited to come enjoy a delicious, wholesome meal; the proceeds from that meal go towards one initiative decided on by the attendees that very night. Along with the purchase of the meal, each attendee receives a vote to cast in favor of a proposal for neighbor improvement. It goes beyond “food for thought” and enables ideas to be transformed into reality, utimately empowering positive change in a single neighborhood. The team has coined the appropo term “friendraising”.
This simple and non-bureaucratic format has the power to create change at the local level. The setting of a shared meal encourages the open exchange of ideas, the vision for doing, and the funding to make it happen.
Get to know more about Carl and his magnificent micro-lending organization in Miami:
Miami Happening: What part of Miami do you live and work in?
Carl: I’m a 305 kinda guy in the the 954. I live in the Wynwood of Fort Lauderdale called Flager Village and commute to Miami three or four times a week.
Miami Happening: Where did you attend school?
Carl: I attended the University of Miami (Miami-Dade County) and American University (District of Columbia).
Miami Happening: What motivates you every morning?
Carl: Knowing that time is a non-renewable resource and that life is gift.
Miami Happening: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
Carl: Having most of the items on my To Do List checked off by the end of the day.
Miami Happening: Who inspires you?
Carl: Everyone. I am amazed at the resilience, grit, perseverance, and patience that people have when facing life’s obstacles.
Miami Happening: How did you decide to get involved in an organization rooted in mico-funding?
Carl: After six years of hosting PechaKucha Nights in Miami, I noticed that there was need to financially support small projects and business initiatives. Through MIAMI SOUP micro-funding dinners, $1,000 would afford someone to launch a start-up website, purchase costumes for a play, or continue to provide services to veterans.
Miami Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?
Carl: The Knight Foundation granting MIAMI SOUP $25,000.
Miami Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Carl: Launching MIAMI SOUP with a few words of advice from Tampa and Detroit Soup organizers.
Miami Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
Carl: I would like to shift from hosting social innovation projects to lunching my own business as a social entrepreneur.
Miami Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go to unwind in Miami?
Miami Happening: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself ten years ago, what advice would you give?
Carl: Learn Spanish.