On the morning of Tuesday, February 3rd, following a weekend of protests and legal challenges to an Executive Order banning refugees and targeting immigrants from entering the United States, Sprudge Media Network published a feature announcing a nationwide ACLU coffee fundraiser. We launched the fundraiser with 26 partner companies. We hoped to raise around $100,000, and we called for any and all interested cafes to join us in raising funds.
In the ensuing hours and days, the outpouring of support from the American specialty coffee community completely overwhelmed our small team here at Sprudge. Working around the clock, our core staff confirmed and onboarded first dozens, then hundreds of participating brands, cafes, and matching corporate sponsors. Herculean work went in behind the scenes to keep track of all the participants, organizing them into maps for ease of use and making sure everyone who raised their hands was counted. Now we’re ready to announce some numbers.
For the remainder of the weekend, 10% of every dollar you spend on drip coffee will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. We are joining forces with @sprudge and hundreds of other coffee shops around the country in support of @aclu_nationwide — a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to defend the constitutional rights of every person in the nation. We stand with them. #refugeeswelcome #yesequal #weareevoke
A total of 862 cafes from 511 brands filled out our contact form and pledged to raise funds for the ACLU Foundation last weekend. With 436 of those brands reporting, plus a number of generous corporate matching partners, the total amount raised now stands at $423,373.34.
If you helped raise money last weekend, and haven’t reported your numbers, we would really love to hear from you. It’s possible that once all fundraisers report their individual donations, some $500,000 will have been raised for the ACLU.
Key to the success of last weekend’s fundraiser was the support from the news media, including features in National Public Radio, Mic, Inc., Food and Wine, DNAInfo, Teen Vogue, Hello Giggles, Grub Street, Bustle, Eaters both national and regional, Munchies, the San Francisco Weekly, the Willamette Week, the Dallas Observer, Gothamist, LAist and Chicagoist, Daily Tarheel at the University of North Carolina, and CBS affiliates across the country, including our own KOIN 6 here in Portland. We’re also grateful to the coffee trade media, including Daily Coffee News and Perfect Daily Grind, for reporting on this story. Thank you to all the bylined journalists and editors out there who took an interest and helped amplify the efforts of coffee companies across the country.
And thank you most of all to the businesses and individuals willing to stand up for this effort. Supporting the ACLU is a nuanced thing, and any reasonable person will find something to disagree with across their history of defending the Constitution. Unfortunately, the public discourse these days is not much for nuance, and we know that many of the participating brands have had to deal with shit posts and angry white people blowing up your Facebook. Thank you for putting up with it and being willing to stand up in this effort.
We’re back to regular reporting now at Sprudge—excited for this weekend’s Regional Barista Competition in Austin (we don’t expect Teen Vogue to cover that one but who can say), and proud to continue bringing you daily global reporting from the best coffee writers in the world. We don’t have another huge benefit planned. This effort has humbled us and reaffirmed how challenging and demanding it must be to do this kind of fundraising work for a living.
Refugees are welcome in the United States. Immigrants from all lands, from all faiths and backgrounds are welcome here. If America is great today—if this country has inherent greatness—it is because of the waves and waves of immigrants who have come here from around the world to call it home, bringing with them the ideas, traditions, beliefs and entrepreneurial spirit that make our country so diverse and wonderful.
If your family came a hundred years ago or a week ago, you are welcome here, and welcome in our cafes. We are all equal. Let’s share a cup together soon.