Pictured left to right:
From Androscoggin Bank: Alicia Miller, Maureen Van Uden and Kelly Dorsey; Coffee By Design co-founders Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear; Rebel Blend Fund grant recipients Reza Jalali and Morgan Rielly on behalf of their project “New Neighbors;” Rebel Blend Fund grant recipients Michelle Atwell and Stephen Andrew on behalf of podcast “Dignity, Compassion Storytelling Conversations’ Dignity for Opiate Users.” Not pictured, Rebel Blend Fund grant recipients Embodied Equity Consulting, René Goddess Johnson and Jennie Hahn
Photo | Tim Greenway

For 23 years, in keeping with the company ethos of supporting community, people, and the environment, Coffee By Design (CBD), a Maine-owned and operated coffee company since 1994, has awarded Rebel Blend Fund grants to support local art projects. 

CBD co-founders Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear believe that the arts play a key role in community life. “Through the arts, we believe our community can build bridges between cultures, class and color, inspiring us to find that which is fundamental to us all: our humanity,” Lindemann said.

This year’s awards have gone to projects with a strong social justice focus. “This year the Rebel Blend Funds are supporting three amazing projects aimed at understanding and building compassion for our community and working to change systemic racism and bias. This feels especially appropriate in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Rebel Blend winners are chosen each year by a team of CBD employees from each of the coffeehouses, the roastery and management, who review all applications and determine where the grant money will be most beneficial. To be considered for Rebel Blend funding, applicants must submit art projects within the state of Maine along with a detailed description of how their projects would benefit from the grant money. This year’s Rebel Blend Fund committee included Nathan Hann, Jackie Lovell, Quesias Parra, Jamie Roper and Zoe Yanez.

The Rebel Blend fund is supported through the purchase of the company’s Rebel Blend coffee, which combines beans from Asia, the Americas, and Africa. $1 from each pound sold or brewed in CBD coffeehouses is contributed to the fund and the total amount from yearly sales is awarded to the winners. Since the Rebel Blend Fund began, CBD has contributed over $100,000 to Maine non-profits arts organizations. This year’s recipients each received $2,000.

2020 Rebel Blend Winners

Embodied Equity Consulting
René Goddess Johnson and Jennie Hahn

‘The Round Tables:  A Daily Conversation with White Supremacy Culture”
A social justice and racial equity training program which uses Embodied Equity Play tools and the art of conversation to break down old patterns and establish new accountability norms.  

“New Neighbors”
Reza Jalali and Morgan Rielly

Distribution of a soon-to-be published book on New Mainers and their contribution to Maine. Libraries and schools across the State will be given copies at no charge.  

Dignity for Opiate Users
Stephen Andrew
‘Dignity, Compassion Storytelling Conversations’

Production costs for a year-long podcast, which will create a compassionate and
empathetic community with a focus on marginalized populations which include
people who use opiates, people with mental illness and veterans who are homeless.

Coffee By Design operates a roastery and coffeehouse at One Diamond St, Portland, and has locations on Portland’s India St. , Congress St., and in Freeport at L.L. Bean. Served at over 650 select restaurants, cafes and gourmet stores, their coffee is enjoyed worldwide. For more information, go to coffeebydesign.com.