On July 19th at First United Methodist Church, Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) was awarded a $500 check, proceeds from an Emerald F.E.A.S.T. dinner event attended by about 50 people. The letters “F.E.A.S.T.” stand for Financing Eugene Area Sustainable Talent, and together they mean dinners which crowd-source instant cash grants to social entrepreneurs. Marion Malcolm of CALC said the funds will be used to pay for photo prints for an exhibit which encourages understanding and connections among the housed and un-housed through art and discussion.
Crowd-sourcing is a powerful new form of democratic philanthropy in which small donors make a decisive impact on local economic and social resilience. At each F.E.A.S.T., diners who have paid $15 to $25 to eat a delicious meal listen to four local entrepreneurs each make a short pitch for a project that will benefit the community. The one that receives the highest approval rating walks away with the proceeds of the dinner as a grant. The entrepreneur will report back on the impact of their grant at a later event. The next F.E.A.S.T. has been scheduled for October 25, 2012. Emerald F.E.A.S.T. was developed by a collaboration of Eugene City of Peace, eDev and Helios as a way to stimulate local circulation of money and increase awareness of “nano-businesses” that have a community benefit.
The Emerald F.E.A.S.T. is modeled on Incubate Chicago’s Sunday Soup Parties which have evolved into a world-wide network of community-based fundraising dinners. Check out the resources that are now available in case you want to start your own!