We’re gearing up for Election Day tomorrow (caffeinate and vote!), which means it’s the perfect time to spotlight our friends at Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC).
They’ve been working hard this election season to increase voter participation; organizing rides, working towards restoring voting rights, and educating Kentuckians about voter issues. The Jefferson County chapter was a sponsor of the Metro Council candidate debates earlier this year, and released their voting guide so voters can read more about their state and local candidates.
But getting out the vote is just one of the many things KFTC does for Kentuckians.
We caught up with Ryan Fenwick, who’s been a Jefferson County chapter member for four years, to talk about the organization,“Working with KFTC is great because it really amplifies your individual effort. I volunteer a few hours every week, but because it’s a statewide organization it ends up making a much greater impact.”
As the Executive Committee Representative, he’s worked on many of the local projects around Louisville, including the Vision Smoketown report, “I felt like at the beginning it [the report] was really very ambitious.”
But after going door-to-door to survey neighbors, Ryan was excited by the progress he felt the report was making. “It was pretty obvious that we had hit on something, because people seemed happy that we were doing what we were doing. The final product came together well – seeing the Smoketown Neighborhood Association become such a force for the neighborhood, is really exciting.”
Another of KFTC’s Louisville-local projects is the annual Smoketown GetDown for Democracy. “The GetDown every year is a fantastic event!” says Ryan.
For the third year, the block party has been a celebration of Smoketown’s legacy and residents, and Heine Brothers’ has been able to participate along with other food venders, music, dancing, and art. KFTC was also taking the opportunity to register voters and even found some new members!
“I think a lot of people don’t know that there are so many progressives throughout the state. It’s easy being from Louisville, to think we’re the only ones who care about progressive topics. There are a lot of people doing innovative things in the rural areas of the state and small towns. Louisville is actually learning a lot about clean air and clean energy from one of the smallest towns in Kentucky right now,” adds Alicia Hurle, the Jefferson County Community Organizer.
For more than three decades, since 1981, KFTC has worked to empower ordinary Kentuckians’ stake in their local government and environment. Starting with their work in Eastern Kentucky’s Appalachian region, the first KFTC members were able to help make reforms to a tax structure that before had favored coal companies over landowner rights. One of the group’s high profile accomplishments was their work in reducing the use of mountaintop removal mining techniques in used to extract coal.
In addition to issues around coal and water pollution, KFTC works on many different problems facing Kentuckians across the state. The organization works on restoring and expanding Voting Rights for Kentuckians, like restoring the ability to vote to those no longer incarcerated. They also deal in economic justice issues and tax reforms, as well as working on new clean energy development by supporting rural clean energy co-ops.
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is a community of people, inspired by a vision, building New Power and a better future for all of us. Together with Kentucky citizens, they organize for a fair economy, a healthy environment, new safe energy and an honest democracy.
Ryan wants people to know, “KFTC is a really accessible way to get involved in the community, and to make a serious impact.” To become a member of KFTC or make a donation during our fall membership and fundraising campaign, visit: www.kftc.org/donate.
As for his coffee preference? Ryan is a purist – double shots and nothing more.
To access the full KFTC Voting Guide, including Candidate surveys: http://kentuckyelection.org/
To join Kentuckians for the Commonwealth: http://www.kftc.org/renew
To find out more about what our local Jefferson County Chapter is working on: http://www.kftc.org/chapters/jefferson-county
Forecastle Festival is nearly here, which means you might be gearing up for a music-filled day or weekend. Maybe you’ve even listened to your Forecastle playlist enough times you know the songs by heart.
At Heine Brothers’, Forecastle Festival time means more than a great lineup. It also marks the anniversary of an important partnership with Forecastle Foundation, the nonprofit that continues the original festival’s mission of environmental activism and conservation.
The Kentucky Dream partnership, which began last year, donates $5 of the proceeds from each bag of Kentucky Dream coffee to restore the world’s “natural awesome” here in Kentucky. The Forecastle Foundation works with The Nature Conservancy to protect the broad range of wildlife at Green River in Central Kentucky and the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust to preserve Pine Mountain in Eastern Kentucky.
You might ask, why those specific areas? Both Green River & Pine Mountain represent some of the country’s most biologically-rich areas – right in our own backyard. The foundation works to protect these and other highly threatened hot spots, around the world.
Holly McKnight, Chairman of the foundation’s board, sums up the spirit of the partnership, “Kentucky is truly a dreamy place, and we’re dedicated to making it stay that way.”
And for the team at the Forecastle Foundation, the festival gives them the opportunity to showcase the World’s Natural Awesome, and how important it is to protect it. With the Forecastle Fest Nest, festival goers will be able to take a break, #sipnsupport with the Foundation’s partners, and learn more about their mission.
“It’s the one chance we have each year to get in front of a new audience and showcase the work we’re doing and give our incredible partners a voice to the Forecastle audience,” Holly says.
That exposure makes an impact: last year alone, the Forecastle Foundation contributed more than $75,000 to conservation project partners in Kentucky, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. And if you drank Kentucky Dream last year, you helped with that contribution in Kentucky.
Over 1,406 bags of Kentucky Dream have already been sold, but that doesn’t mean the Forecastle Foundation team is resting on it’s laurels.
“Kentucky Dream has already been so critical to the work that we’re doing in Kentucky – on Pine Mountain with Kentucky Natural Lands Trust and on the Green River with the Nature Conservancy – Kentucky Chapter. The best we can hope for is that this partnership continues to flourish, that people continue to see the value in drinking delicious coffee for a cause – and that we’re able to expand our efforts to protect more of the precious places in this great state of ours,” Holly explains.
And when we asked where the most “naturally awesome” place to enjoy a cup of Kentucky Dream is, Holly answered, “The best thing about Kentucky is that there are innumerable places of beauty and inspiration. Whether it be atop Pine Mountain, hiking the gorge, exploring our massive cave network, kayaking the Green River, or just sitting in your backyard – Kentucky Dream is a delicious way for everyone to support and protect the land you love. Of course, The Forecastle Festival isn’t a bad place to indulge either.”
Guess you’ll just have to get out and explore Kentucky to decide for yourself!
Whether you’re listening live this weekend or avoiding the crowd at the waterfront like it’s the zombie apocalypse, you can still support Forecastle Foundation. Check it out:
Drinking coffee makes doing good easy (and tasty), but there are so many ways to contribute to Forecastle Foundation’s efforts to protect and rebuild the world’s natural awesome. Apply to become a project partner, make a donation, or volunteer as an Oarsman or Sustainer.
Kentucky Dream is available year-round! You can buy at any of our Heine Brothers’ locations, order it online, or find it at the Whole Foods Market in Louisville.
Our partnership with The Center for Women and Families (CFW&F) started more than 14 years ago, and it’s one we’re very proud of.
This month, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we’re highlighting their mission and the White Ribbon Campaign. (More information about how you can support Denim Day on Wednesday, April 27 and the continuing mission of CFW&F at the bottom of the post.
It’s hard to know where to begin when talking about the important role the Center plays in providing services and support to survivors of abuse and sexual assault. The center offers emergency shelter and medical services, transitional housing, counseling, legal services and advocacy to anyone who might need them – not just women and children. CFW&F serves clients not just in Louisville, but also in 8 other of the surrounding counties.
We met with our friend Marta Miranda, the center’s current President and CEO at the Center’s main facility, to talk about why the White Ribbon Campaign is so important, and about her personal journey to the Center for Women and Families.
When you arrive at the Center, the first thing you notice is how inviting it is; there’s plenty of natural light, and art made by clients & local artists is on display everywhere. Marta tells us that this is by design. When the new facilities were built, it was a priority that it was comfortable, welcoming and warm – a safe space. It’s a feeling that is also conveyed by the dedication and compassion of Marta and the other CFW&F staff.
In talking with Marta, it’s easy to see she’s been passionate about the Center’s mission long before she was in her current role. Beginning with her job as a social worker at age 20, and continuing through her time at Eastern Kentucky University as the Director of Women & Gender studies program, she understood both the physical and psychological effects of assault and abuse.
“I’ve been in this movement for 41 years,” Miranda says, “but my gut connection to the job came at age 8 when my favorite aunt came home from the hospital with two black eyes. When I asked her why didn’t she leave, she said it was because she couldn’t afford to feed her kids. So financial empowerment and independence, self-sufficiency and education is what we can do to help.”
Though our partnership began with CFW&F before Marta was appointed, it has strengthened significantly in the years she’s been at the center.
“The center partnership with Heine Brothers’ is long and deep,” said Marta. “We began partnering to promote the awareness side of things in the stores about 3-4 years ago, but Heine Brothers’ has been involved with CFW&F through Ronda’s Blend and the Penny Donations for much longer.”
For years, Heine Brothers’ baristas have chosen to donate all the pennies from their cash tips in memory Ronda Mahaffey, our former co-worker and friend who is also the namesake of “Ronda’s Blend”. For every bag of Ronda’s Blend you buy, 50 cents is also donated to CFW&F.
And while donations are very important – they allow the center to continue the many services they provide – what Marta would really like to see is fewer people needing the center’s services.
“We need to treat both sides of the problem – both the survivors and the perpetrators. If we don’t treat that other side of the spectrum, we won’t get anywhere… We have to understand that both the victims and the perpetrators are us, are our families and communities, especially in a culture that doesn’t make a lot of space for men to be human beings. That isn’t to absolve the abusers, though.”
This can only be achieved through increased awareness, discussion of issues and intervention before a situation reaches a crisis level. The White Ribbon Campaign is integral in that goal because it’s focus is on engaging men and boys, in addition to women, in the prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“White Ribbon is important because it is an international movement, and also a grassroots movement,” Marta explains. “Men have not had a voice [in the past], but they have wives and they have daughters, sisters, co-workers and friends who have been raped and beaten. We want to offer them a way to be allies and supporters.”
Want to know how you can be an ally? Be a part of the White Ribbon Campaign by:
- Taking part in Denim Day on April 27th! Wear your jeans and other denim apparel in support of survivors of sexual assault, then share it on social with #denimday2016 & #nomoredomore to encourage awareness.
- Wear your White Ribbon to promote awareness (pick it up at Heine Brothers’ store or other allied local businesses).
- Tell the men in your life about the campaign and why it’s important.
- Join other men to be a part of our local OWN IT initiative.
- Speak up & take action when you see evidence of gender-based violence.
- Talk to the men in your life about sexual violence and encourage them to speak out and take action. Prevention is key.
- Become a volunteer at the Center.
- Invite a community educator to speak to your organization.
- Donate directly to The Center for Women and Families, or add your pennies to the tip baskets next time you’re at the register of your local Heine Brothers’
1. What year did your shop open? November 1997!
2. Do you have any crazy customer stories? One time, Marie, our endearing doddering regular, drove her car in to the side of the building. Another time, a group of people held an improptu wedding reception in our smaller room, complete with cake and presents.
3. What is the most popular drink at your shop? Skim latte, Iced soy mocha, and so many Con Leches!
4. Who are your shop’s favorite regulars? The morning crew – Jim, Bob, Chris, Cheryl, and John. the Nancy’s, the Peter’s, Con Leche Joe, Con Leche Dennis, Jess Dos bagels, Sam and Courtney, Betty, Peter B. fred, Iced mocha Ben, Randy, Annie, Ike & Saxonie. Also Lawyer John and Prince Charming.
5. What makes your shop better than the others? The co-workers!
2) Do you have any crazy customer stories? We did have a couple come in the morning after their wedding, she was still in her wedding dress & him in his tux! They hadn’t been to bed yet and were getting some coffee! We gave them a couple of iced coffees for congratulations!
3) What is the most popular drink at your shop? medium coffee – close seconds would be chaibergs & mochas!
4) Who are your shop’s favorite regulars? Lawyer Bob, Ray, “Hambone”, Little Max, Denzel Dave, Kate from Carmichaels!!
5) What makes your shop better than all of the others? We have the friendliest customers, we looove our customers! 😀 We are the neighborhood coffee shop in a neighborly neighborhood. Feels like family.
6) What are some of the favorite local businesses within 2 blocks of your shop?Just Creations, Fat Jimmy’s, Carmichael’s, The Wine Rack