Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 77 of 119

recognizes the cons that go along with the process. "If you get spon- sored there is more accountability, which is great, but it adds one more thing to your list. Properly thanking sponsors is something that has defi nitely fallen off of my radar before and is something I feel guilty about and want to be better about in the future." It also requires that you take a hard look into brands that want to sponsor you to make sure their actions align with your cause. "We have defi nitely declined sponsorship from specifi c companies for this reason," says Elle. What should growth look like over time? With a defi ned community and mission, growth may run in a very textbook direction, or it may happen differently than you expect. A couple of things to consider long-term are staying true to mission in the face of growth and declaring offi cial status to stay legally above-board. • Staying true to mission Brittney Balestra created the Womxn in Coffee Awards in Septem- ber 2018 after an insultingly gender-biased "best baristas" list was published in a Colorado Springs, Colo., newspaper. Although her organization is new, she recognizes that it's hard staying true to a mission of inclusion, especially when your group is focused on serving the marginalized. "It's easier said than done, but realizing your privilege is a huge part of what it means to remain inclusive. I am a white woman in coffee, and although I'm gay, I reap the benefi ts of being white. Putting yourself in check when making decisions is crucial. Who could this affect negative- ly? Who is this benefi tting and how can I transition it to be more inclu- sive? Constantly asking yourself questions like that," she says, is key. Cherry Roast's coordinators have worked hard to honor their organization's original intent by being willing to tweak their mission; initially focused on uplifting women, they've since revised to a mission of "giving time, energy, spotlight, and professional recognition to folks of gender-marginalized identities." "Cherry Roast has changed a lot, and has a lot of work to do," says Elle. "Mostly this looks like the fi ve people who now run the platform and competition constantly doing personal work and trying to fi nd a balance between reaching out and tokenizing certain baristas in our immediate community—the Denver community is particularly white, myself included. This year a huge goal of ours is to do more outreach and see what is needed to better assess how to use our small but mighty privileges to help serve the people we aim to serve." Michelle plans to stay true to mission by keeping her focus exclu- sively on her target audience—Black people—and refusing to com- promise that. "This is probably the fi rst event of its kind in the coffee industry and one that makes a lot of people uncomfortable because of its focus on Black people," she says. "It was extremely important for me to be explicit about the safe space I was creating for the panelists to speak freely and candidly to their level of comfort and not feel invalidated. I would say repeatedly that this was a conversation for us, by us, and pull our focus away from speaking to a demographic that didn't look like us to speaking to each other. I really believe going that hard to protect our space, albeit public, achieved a level of catharsis and healing for everyone involved. It's something that will be the top priority moving forward." • Official status To grow an organization or allow it to hold signifi cant portions of money at any given time, it often becomes important to fi le for offi cial status, either as a for-profi t (LLC) or a nonprofi t. Many groups haven't yet done this but have it on their to-do list, and many others fi nd it necessary early on. DMV Coffee has not yet fi led for nonprofi t status, but it's hindered their growth. "Not having nonprofi t status is maybe the single thing that's hamstrung us the most in executing more and larger events," organizer Damian Salisbury says. "Our only goal for the 2019 coffee championship preliminaries was to break even on covering the costs of the event since not being a nonprofi t didn't allow us to responsibly hold funds for future events. Not having a DMV Coffee bank account also meant that if we fell short on funds, we were on the hook person- ally for anything we owed. We're in the process of working on bylaws to offi cially form a board and incorporate ASAP so we avoid that stress in the future." Emily of the Barista Guild of Baton Rouge wants to take her group to the next level as well. "We do want to be even more of a resource to local coffee professionals in our city; in order to do that, we would most likely become a nonprofi t (501c3) and seek consistent monetary donations to accomplish our goals of serving our local community." Sometimes the process is both more necessary and less clear-cut. Though T. Ben Fischer only launched Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp last summer, the group has seen a ton of support and therefore has had to fi le for offi cial status sooner rather than later, due to the amount of money required to function as an SCA competition–focused group. It wasn't readily apparent to T. Ben, however, whether Glitter Cat should be for-profi t or nonprofi t. "I've had multiple conversations with accountants on taxes and business status and everyone has a different opinion," he says. "Glitter Cat started out as an LLC but we will be fi ling for nonprofi t status for 2019." Start your own! You're the resident expert on your community and its needs. Wheth- er you're the kind of person to sit down and create a plan with a developed mission, goal, and growth strategy, or the type to call up a few friends and see who wants to come by your shop tonight to hang out and talk about issues you face professionally, you can start a coffee community organization today. With these tips, you can not only launch an organization with the needs of your peers in mind, you can keep it focused, growing, and true to mission over time. The amount of coffee pros who have created inspiring, enriching spaces for their peers is far too great to name them all in one place (though we tried—see page 86), but we can all honor their work by doing our part to serve our communities. Let Barista Mag help! At Barista Magazine, we are proud to support community- oriented coffee events and gatherings, no matter how small. All you have to do is go to our website's "Barista Magazine Event Support" page (under Contact), and let us know about your throwdown, cupping, barista jam, raffl e, fundraiser, or whatever activity you're using to bring coffee people together. To date we have sent prizes such as beanies and snapbacks, subscription gift cards, T-shirts, and magazines to hun- dreds of events around the world. We'll also post the fl yer for your event to our Instagram page, which—with 145,000 followers and counting—will get not only your event but your organization some well-deserved attention. Barista Mag exists to serve the professional barista com- munity—let us help with your next event! 78 barista magazine

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