Elysian Fields and Little Baby’s Ice Cream join to form “Shared interest” Microgrant
When two businesses come together to offer funding for a project promoting citizen engagement, it’s a “win, win, win,” said Pete Angevine, co-founder of Little Baby’s Ice Cream.
The Riverwards ice cream capital and business consulting firm Elysian Fields have banded together and established Shared Interest — a grant opportunity for a small-scale project designed for the public good.
The paths of Angevine and Elysian Fields’ CEO Kate Strathmann have crossed in a number of ways: both are in the small business world, are involved in the arts and culture community and live in Fishtown. The two had developed a friendship when Strathmann offered Elysian Fields to provide a loan to help Little Baby’s expand its ice cream services to Baltimore. What followed was an uncommon partnership.
“It was all pretty serendipitous,” Angevine said. “[For Little Baby’s] it feels really great because not only is her business helping my business, which I appreciate, but I also think it’s an unusual and kind of beautiful example of for-profit, capitalist businesses supporting each other really directly.”
It would be unfair for Elysian Fields not to charge Little Baby’s any interest on their loan, according to Angevine. Instead of just having Little Baby’s pay interest, Elysian Fields would match what Little Baby’s gives on the loan, innovating an opportunity for a new project: Shared Interest.
“[We said,] ‘Let’s have this count for more than just a loan,’” Strathmann said. “We’re partnering in a way to generate something else that gives back and engages the community creatively.”
Strathmann is personally interested in creative fundraising and microgranting as it intersects with the business world. Strathmann co-founded Philly Stake, a dinner fundraiser held to give microgrants to creative community members.
Shared Interest is calling the creative community to propose a small-scale project that the $1,000 grant would cover most, if not all, of the costs of. The money is meant to be meaningful for completion and would not be accessible otherwise for the creators. The project should benefit the local community — Fishtown, Kensington, or anywhere in Philadelphia.
The founders of the grant are purposely being vague about what kinds of projects they are looking for. “We purposely are not defining it. It could be [small-scale] farming, an art project, puppeteering,” Strathmann said.
The application asks the applicant to answer four questions and include four images. Answers should be between 50 and 100 words. The simplicity in the form is intentional, for the applications are “meant to be not onerous and brief,” according to Strathmann. The application link went live on Elysian Fields’ website on April 10th and proposals will be accepted through April 23rd. The grant winner will be announced on April 28th. If you apply for the first grant and don’t get it, don’t be discouraged. According to Strathmann, this won’t be the last opportunity like Shared Interest.
“I hope this is the only first, initial [grant opportunity of the] experiment,” Strathmann said. “I’d love to keep growing and exploring how we can continue to fund small businesses and creative communities that engage the wider communities.”
“I’m hoping we get a bunch of creative ideas I couldn’t have imagined myself,” Angevine said. •