Conscious Alliance: Art That FeedsFeb 24, 2017 Comments (0)
Conscious Alliance is a national nonprofit organization committed to supporting communities in crisis through hunger relief and youth empowerment. We are thrilled that we get to work with such an impactful organization. The Believer campaign has been an incredible experience so far and we are grateful to work with organizations doing good in their local communities. Read below to learn more about Conscious Alliance.
1. Please tell us a brief history of your organization.
The idea for Conscious Alliance stemmed from a meaningful conversation in 2002 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Two native community leaders, Floyd and Natalie Hand, shared their vision with a college student, Justin Baker, from Boulder, Colorado; together they decided to collaborate to reduce hunger on Pine Ridge, one of the nation’s most food insecure communities. Baker utilized his internship with Madison House (artist booking and management company) to tap into the generosity of musicians and their fans to create one of the major existing pillars of Conscious Alliance’s approach: ‘Art That Feeds’ Food Drives where patrons receive a memorable and limited-edition event poster in exchange for food and monetary donations.
We have grown to host over 90 ‘Art That Feeds’ Food Drives each year nationwide by partnering with over 30 musicians, such as The String Cheese Incident, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Dead & Company, and Mumford and Sons, as well as festivals including Bonnaroo, Electric Forest and Wakarusa.
In recent years, our strategy has broadened to include powerful partnerships with natural food companies. For example, companies such as Justin’s, Plum Organics, Love Grown Foods, and Made In Nature collectively provided over 50,000 meals through Conscious Alliance in 2016. The value of involving the natural food industry is apparent when considering that those affected by hunger are three times more likely than the rest of the population to have chronic health problems like diabetes and hypertension. As we strive for health for all, we must consider the nutritional value of what is provided in food pantries.
Today we operate two food pantries and a backpack program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Collectively these programs distribute over 300 bags of groceries every week to people facing hunger. In addition, we host garden programs (home and school) during the spring through fall, as well as workshops teaching young Lakota boys the art of making traditional hand drums.
In 2016 alone, Conscious Alliance contributed over $1.2 million directly to the communities we serve, while maintaining a combined fundraising and administrative expenses below 24 percent. For more information visit http://www.consciousalliance.org/.
2. If you could describe your non-profit organization in three words, what would they be and why?
Empowering, Nourishing, Community
3. If your organization turned into a Ninkasi beer, what beer would it be and why?
If Conscious Alliance were a beer, we’d be Believer! Conscious Alliance is a Believer kind of organization because, like Believer, we give back and because as a team, Conscious Alliance is a blend of amazing collaborators, making a perfect combination for achieving impactful social change (just like with Believer you’ve created a perfect blend of ingredients to make a delicious beer)!
4. How does your organization measure success?
We measure success by the number of meals we’ve provided to people in need and the lives we’ve changed through our youth empowerment programs. We also pay attention to the quality and quantity of our collaborations with natural food companies, volunteers, food banks, donors, musicians, artists, and other partners. Our consistent growth has allowed us to host more programs and Food Drives across the U.S., thus helping us to make a bigger impact every year.
5. What is your organization's greatest achievement, and how did you accomplish it?
In 2015, we hit a milestone of 2 million meals provided to people facing hunger. We accomplished this by being relentlessly dedicated to our mission, expanding our strategy when needed, and believing that we can make a difference.
6. If you could have an influential person represent your organization, who would it be and why?
We believe our organization is currently represented by the most influential and inspirational person we know. Justin Levy has been devoted to Conscious Alliance for 13 years and became Executive Director in 2012. In 2016, he was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals by Colorado Biz Magazine. In 2017, he was recognized by Biz West as a top 40 under 40 Emerging Leaders shaping the Boulder Valley. He is an innovative and caring leader for our organization and strives for excellence in every detail.
7. What does the Believer campaign mean to your organization?
First, we truly appreciate Ninkasi’s philosophy that includes aiding and benefitting nonprofit organizations; it speaks volumes to how you think of your business and recognize your ability to bring people to a cause they can support. The generous offerings to have nonprofit beneficiaries each year makes a significant impact on a national level.
The Believer campaign means a great deal to us. It not only provides our organization and the communities we support with much-needed and appreciated donations, but also grows awareness and exposure of Conscious Alliance to new audiences – something that is invaluable as we hope to provide more meals, empowerment and volunteer opportunities to the communities we serve.
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