The blood, sweat, and tears of months of work on Blessed Coffee’s Brewing Change campaign all led up to yesterday’s much anticipated campaign Launch Party. Nearly 75 guests packed into Silver Spring’s Addis Ababa Ethiopian Restaurant to celebrate the official fundraiser kick-off.
Those of you who have been following the campaign know that the 16-member Brewing Change team has been meeting since May 2013 to plan the campaign rollout on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Well, yesterday, the site went live and it was time to party!
Tebabu and Sara issued an open invitation to the festivities and Blessed Coffee’s fans didn’t disappoint. Supporters came out in droves to be a part of celebrating Blessed Coffee’s future. For the evening, the top floor of Addis Ababa Restaurant became Brewing Change campaign central.
Guests mingled and enjoyed the Ethiopian buffet which included savory lentils, creamy sweet corn, spicy beef tibs, and of course, injera. Campaign team member Kimberley Jutze served as the night’s emcee.
A fun surprise came early in the festivities when guests Busy Graham, Molly Graham, and Greg Lewis serenaded the crowd with an impromptu folk song with some befitting lyrics that included, “All I want is a cup of Blessed Coffee made in an Ethiopian coffee pot.”
County Executive Ike Leggett took time out of an evening filled with multiple events to stop by the party. He not only wished Tebabu and Sara success with the campaign, but he also congratulated them on Blessed Coffee's 3rd Anniversary, happening this month.
Senator Jamie Raskin was the evening’s keynote speaker. It was Jamie who initiated legislation in the State of Maryland to create a new corporate form called the Benefit Corporation. Blessed Coffee was the second business in the nation to become a Benefit Corporation. Jamie is a long-time supporter of Blessed Coffee and his words on this occasion spoke of his admiration for Blessed Coffee’s founders and his optimism for its potential:
“You guys are visionaries. You have captured this moment for us. And, you are going to bring extraordinary credit and glory not just to you and your family, but to all of us, in what you’re doing with Blessed Coffee.”
Although he was unable to attend the event, Congressman Chris Van Hollen also made his support known by issuing a citation to Blessed Coffee, “In recognition of its efforts to develop partnerships in Ethiopia to improve the lives of coffee growers and to offer Americans the highest quality coffee.”
The evening wrapped up with what everyone had come for—the unveiling of the Brewing Change campaign on Indiegogo. Campaign team member Adam Mendelevitz flipped the switch on the LCD projector and the video began. The pitch video is just under 4 minutes long and features Sara’s melodious voice narrating. The course of the story begins with Ethiopia’s rich coffee heritage, then speaks to the outrageous inequities in the global coffee market, and closes with the rise of Blessed Coffee and Virtuous Exchange.
As the credits for the video rolled, Jamie Raskin stepped forward to become the first donor to the campaign. Others eagerly followed his example and the last scene of the evening was of people taking out pens and checkbooks to, as Sara says in the video, “have a positive impact in the community.”
To give to the Brewing Change campaign, visit our page on Indiegogo. Just click here!