After working as a model and later opening a successful restaurant, Phil Cooley was trying to decide what to do next. So he purchased a large warehouse in Corktown. But he had no idea what to do with it.
Friends and family suggested ideas and Phil noticed that every idea gravitated toward the craft of the person suggesting it. Chefs wanted a culinary school. Musicians wanted a recording studio. So Phil co-founded Ponyride* as a space where people could pursue their dreams and just be who they are.
"We should all have the privilege of failing more," said Phil.
And that's exactly what Ponyride gives people the opportunity to do. The 30 socially conscious entrepreneurs and artists that use the space are purposely charged an inexpensive rent. This gives them the means to take the necessary risks to perfect their craft and get their businesses off the ground. With so many industries brought together under one roof, they've created a unique community of collaborators.
Amy Kaherl understands that real change doesn't happen alone. When she saw that many initiatives in the city of Detroit were being stopped or sidetracked, Amy decided to do something about it and founded Detroit SOUP* with her friends.
SOUP acts as a crowd funding dinner where people gather each month and give a five-dollar donation. The crowd listens to four pitches for community projects and then vote on the idea that they believe will have the most impact on the city.
"The people at SOUP are just normal people with an idea. They're just looking for someone to believe in them," said Amy.
At the end of the night, the winner receives all of the money collected to carry out their idea. This simple way to help people follow their passions and improve their communities is now being modeled in over 50 cities in the U.S.
Once facing a housing crisis herself, Julie Nagle understands the value of having a place to call home. Now as the executive director at Humble Design, she helps families emerging from shelters discover what home truly means. Three times a week, designers from the non-profit meet with families to learn what their dream homes and rooms would look like. The designers then select donated furniture from their warehouse in Pontiac and bring these dreams to life.
"We restore hope and dignity," said Julie. "We make houses into homes."
By simply providing staples of a home, like a dining room tables and beds for each child, the folks at Humble Design have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of people who return to homelessness.
So if ordinary people can find extraordinary ways to make a difference, why don't all of us do it? Todd Henry, the founder of Accidental Creative*, explained that many of us don't reach or realize our full potential because we get stuck in a place of mediocrity. We stop listening to our inner fire when we get comfortable with routine or let fear of failure take over.
But Todd reminded us, "If you want to do well by doing good, brilliance demands bravery."
To unleash our best work, we have to embrace change. We have to understand the reasons why we do our work. And we have to find ways to fuel our passions.
Our speakers at G2G Summit reminded us that there's a greater purpose to our work. We don't just answer phones or take loan applications. We care about people, because to us people will always matter more than money. And helping you, our members, live a better life serves as great fuel to our fire.
SEE ALSO: Changing the Way We Work at G2G Summit | Giving Back To Michigan For Moved By Good Day
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