Xavier Magazine

Sundae Service

Lots of people want to fund good ideas that improve their community. And when there’s ice cream involved, doing good becomes fun—and yummy.

Kristine Frech, a 2008 Xavier grad, launched Cincy Sundaes last year with friend and colleague Erika Fiola. The two work for organizations that promote regional development in the Cincinnati area—Frech for Vision 2015 in Northern Kentucky, Fiola for Agenda 360 north of the Ohio River. On a brainstorming trip to Detroit, they learned of a micro-funding effort called Detroit Soup. On the drive home, they decided to set up a similar program in Cincinnati, swapping the soup for ice cream.

Here’s how it works: People pay $5 for an ice-cream sundae. As they’re eating, they hear four pitches about ideas to improve the community. At the end, the group votes on their favorite idea, and the winner takes home the pot.

“We see a lot of people who want to be engaged in their community, but they don’t know how,” says Frech. “It’s a really good example of how Cincinnati as a community comes together to fund individuals with great ideas.”

Cincy Sundaes hosted five events in 2014 and has another four scheduled for 2015. Crowds range from 80 to 180 people, and foundations match the donations. Winners have used the funds to decorate sidewalks as a way of slowing traffic, improve a park in Covington, Ky., and support classical-music education for kids. All the ice cream and toppings are donated, and everyone—from the people making their pitches to those donating the cash—leaves with a sweet taste in their mouths.