Since the shift in leadership, the Tales team has been clear in their messaging: the organization is shifting towards a foundation model. Today (7.17) marked a milestone in that plan with the announcement $250,000 awarded to 11 different projects coupled with the receipt of two big donations to the Foundation itself
The fest officially kicked off with the Toast to Tales by Co-Chairs Neal Bodenheimer and Gary Solomon Jr. along with Executive Director Caroline Rosen.
However, the highlight of the annual ritual was bit different this year. Prior to the raising of glasses, two large checks totaling $45,000 were presented to Tales. The donations came from the Goldring Foundation (of Sazerac Co. fame) and the Edrington Foundation (non-profit offshoot of Scotch whisky giant).
Then, the group moved inside to listen to food writer Kat Kinsman moderate a discussion with the Grant Committee. The talk largely focused on how the group came into being and the motivations behind each individuals decision to donate their time.
Finally, the big moment arrived and the grant recipients were announced. The 13 member TOTCF Grants Committee was comprised of bartenders/managers/owners and brand side personalities. Said composition was reflected in the selections which skewed heavily towards other familiar industry names.
Below, the winners are listed along with descriptions of their projects as supplied by Tales.
• 86Waste: Co-founded by Nick Korn and Maureen Hautaniemi, 86Waste is a community organization that plans to utilize this grant to empower people, bars, spirit brands, festivals and other entities to acknowledge wastefulness in their business practices, to set goals for addressing this wastefulness, and collectively build resources to create and implement solutions toward becoming waste neutral.
• Causing a Stir: Co-founded by Alexis Brown and Ariel Neal, Causing A Stir’s mission is to increase diversity, leadership, and mentorship within the hospitality industry. Causing A Stir developed from a luncheon of 10 female bartenders of color who gathered together in fellowship to discuss views and perspectives on the hospitality industry. The group came to find that there was a need for radical inclusion, equal representation and accessibility to educational opportunities within our bar community. This grant will go towards furthering that mission.
• Children of Restaurant Employees: Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) grants support to children of food and beverage service employees navigating life-altering circumstances. In times of extreme strain brought on by family death, injury or diagnosed medical condition, loss of home, or other sudden or extreme circumstances, food and beverage families can become overwhelmed financially and emotionally. CORE is the nationally recognized community of support for all food and beverage service families in need by ensuring they feel cared for and valued. CORE will utilize their grant to establish a proactive fund for disaster relief in order to provide immediate assistance during times of need. They seek to support all applications that qualify for support during natural disasters.
• CocktailSafe.org: Founded by Camper English, CocktailSafe.org will serve as a directory of ingredients and techniques, each linking to a page. Much like a Wikipedia entry, every bit of content would link to original sources, government documents, and additional resources. The goal is to be both simple enough that bartenders can quickly seek out answers/advice for any particular ingredient/technique, but so thoroughly researched and referenced that anyone could independently confirm the data. This funding will contribute towards the creation of this educational platform.
• CrescentCare: CrescentCare (previously NO/AIDS Task Force) is a non-profit community-based organization which serves more than 10,000 patients with three primary care sites in Mid-City including behavioral health and dental services. To accommodate its rapid growth, CrescentCare will be consolidating and expanding its clinics at a major new state-of-the-art facility in New Orleans at 1631 Elysian Fields Avenue which will open in January 2019. CrescentCare plans to implement a creative campaign and conduct outreach and education to make hospitality employees in New Orleans aware of its compassionate and affordable healthcare services. CrescentCare seeks to positively impact healthcare access and quality of life for those working in the hospitality sector and to provide those individuals with a medical home.
• Healthy Hospo: Improving the health and wellness of the hospitality industry is an enormous task, one that Healthy Hospo, founded by Tim Etherington-Judge, cannot do alone. Their grant will go towards a three-pronged strategy: build the first project dedicated to improving the sleep of the hospitality industry; implement video, the media of choice for the modern generation, to reach and inspire the industry; spread the message broadly to increase access for the community.
• Burnout, Stress, and Substance Use in the Beverage Industry Study: Laura Green, M.Ed. plans to utilize her grant to prompt further research in the beverage industry. Laura will distribute a survey that measures the relationships between stress, burnout, and substance use. Results from this research will allow her to dig in deeper to identify where the stress is coming from, then develop interventions to help mitigate the effects of stress in the workplace. Additionally, she can build off this research to further examine career barriers (both perceived and real) for people of marginalized populations and closely examine relationships with their employer and individual’s perceived support.
• Mezcaleros of Southern Jalisco: Chad Arnholt will utilize this grant to develop a short documentary following mezcaleros of southern Jalisco as encroaching avocado farms change their landscape and deplete groundwater, while the rainy season shrinks by the year. In Jalisco, there is an acute example of how global agriculture exacerbates the impact of climate change on local ecosystems and traditional food systems. This project will help educate viewers on the issue on a global scale.
• Pin Project: Mark Goodwin seeks to turn a pin into an empowering tool behind the bar. When a bartender goes to punch in, he or she will now have a tangible choice to make an intention, with an externally apparent totem that will indicate his or her desire to abstain from drinking during a shift. This decision to wear a pin and not drink is to be respected, unquestioned and understood. It can be donned for any reason; this server needs to drive home, this host is on antibiotics, this barback only drinks once a week, or this manager struggles with substances. For any reason at all, the pin can help assert confidence, help with a social cue, or with promoting the best possible version of this person to the thirsty folks on the other side of the bar. This grant will help launch this grassroots initiative.
• PRISM: PRISM is a collaboration of passionate creators, Doron Gild and Jamal Robinson, with the goal of exploring the many facets and bright colorful personalities within the world of hospitality. Through photography and writing we will delve into the lives of the people and communities who are far too often reduced and, many times, left to sit invisible and silent. We will tell these stories, through prose and portrait, in a manner that is intimate and visceral and, above all, honest and beautiful. Our aim is to be an actual step in the right direction, assist in advancing the industry, and create something that effects real, substantial, and tangible change. We’ve heard great stories and seen beautiful faces – we know first hand the beauty and brilliance of this industry – and we want the rest of the world to see it as well.
• The 100 Scots: The 100 Scots is a community network supporting and promoting the modern Scottish hospitality industry. With over 350 Scottish or Scotland-based members, seek to provide a single, unified voice for the Scottish hospitality industry with a shared, vested interest in it’s longevity and prosperity. These funds will be designated to benefitting the local bar and spirits community – to protect members’ and industry interests; cultivate national and international perceptions of Scotland; and principally, to uphold and safeguard the future of the industry for everyone.
Photo by Dr. Bill Copen