Meet Your 2021 Board Election Candidates

Greetings fellow member-owners! It’s time to vote for a new round of directors at KCFC. Voting is very important to the cooperative model and is Cooperative Principle #2. As a KCFC member-owner, you elect the Board of Directors who are the stewards who govern this business. Each member-owner will be sent an e-mail ballot through Helios (one per household). Voting will be open from Friday May 28th through Wednesday June 9th. If you don’t receive your ballot, make sure to check old email accounts and be sure to check your spam folder. If you still haven’t received it, e-mail president@kcfc.coop to request another ballot.

This year, we have six candidates running for the KCFC Board of Directors. Each of the candidates is elected for a term of three years. We have asked each candidate what areas of the Co-op are important to them as well as some questions to help you learn more about them. Get to know the candidates running for your Board below.

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Kae Anderson

Member-Owner #: 796

Cooperative/Store issues of particular interest to me:

1. Neighborhood Partnerships

2. Financial Planning

3. Zoning & development advocacy

Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions. 

Kae came to the neighborhood through a job in the Economic Development Dept at NKCDC.  In her tenure at NKCDC, Kae advocated for and organized local businesses to form the new Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District, where she currently works as Director of Operations. Kae’s background is in small business consulting, particularly in the areas of licensing & zoning, financing, & program development.   In her “spare time” Kae is an avid coffee-drinker, who loves live music (especially hip hop), plans large street festivals, produces a podcast (SippinWitSammie) and co-hosts two radio shows (Find it In Fishtown Live on WWDB 860 AM Wednesday mornings 8AM & Flygirl Friday Radio on Glocawear Radio Fridays 3-4PM).  Currently Kae is working closely with KCFC staff to support the KCFC Farmers Market series starting in June.  

Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have volunteered (if applicable). 

 A member-owner since 2014, Kae first joined KCFC as a coop-enthusiast and local business supporter.  Kae Anderson previously served on the KCFC Board of Directors from 2015-2020, including a 3-year term as Board President 2017-2020.  Prior to KCFC opening, Kae served as KCFC bookkeeper for 8 months before transitioning to the Treasurer position in 2016.  Kae stepped down from the Board at the end of her term to focus on launching her new business Phant Productions, a media production, creative consultation, and event curation firm. 

Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring? 

As someone who has previously held leadership positions at KCFC, I am well-versed in Board duties and policy governance, as well as the importance of having a “can-do, will-do” attitude.  As someone who has worked with the community and local businesses for over 8 years, I can bring community partnerships and strategic resources to KCFC.  As a trained bookkeeper and small business consultant, I am well-versed in creating organizational budgets & reviewing financial reports.   And most importantly, I love KCFC & shop there regularly,  the store, the staff, and the surrounding community. 

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Jeff Carpenter

Member-Owner #: 195

Cooperative/Store issues of particular interest to me: 

  1. The exterior appearance and signage 
  2. Online ordering 

Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership  positions and passions.

I am an artist, landlord, and community organizer. I’ve been in the neighborhood for 10 years. I’ve  raised money for EKNA. I started Arcadia Commons, a non-profit that’s created three green  spaces: Emerald Gardens, Kern Park and The Huntingdon Emerald (still very much a work-in progress). When Arcadia Commons discovered two empty lots owned by a similar organization  that went defunct in the 80’s, we searched many different ways to get them, and the Attorney  General brought action in the Court of Common Pleas that awarded us title. We then discovered  the deed stolen by fraud, and we went to the courts for over two years and won, at the cost of over  $100,000. We sold the lots for enough to pay that loan, settle another loan nearly as large, and  have more than that left over to fund our plans for the future of the neighborhood. 

Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have  volunteered (if applicable).  

I have been a KCFC member for many years… I’m the 195th member. I volunteered my help early on with the building. There was a huge old billboard towering beside the cafe that was an eyesore,  so I volunteered a new one for KCFC – you can see my painting for it hanging in the store by the  entrance. When construction was about to begin, I made a loan to the Co-op… all the money I could put my hands on at the time. I have recently been asked to be part of the board’s team and I now serve on the board as an interim replacement for a departed member. 

Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?

As a landlord, I have been involved in negotiations for large sums of money and won. I have been part of a team that won five city-owned lots to become green spaces. I have been part of a team  that solicited the donation of four expensive city lots from a private developer. When my organization Arcadia Commons discovered two of our deed stolen by fraud, we went to the courts  for over two years and won. We prepared a 27-page report on that deed fraudster’s many  different crimes, and the District Attorney’s task force said it was the most comprehensive they  had ever seen. I invested in the Co-op early, and I would like to help in any way that I can.

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Matthew Draper
Member-Owner #: 755

Cooperative/Store issues of particular interest to me: 

  1. Value proposition  
  2. Customer experience
  3. Financial planning 

Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership  positions and passions.  

I am a passionate business leader who has a goal of being involved in an array of organizations. I am currently the founder  of an early-stage startup (Noble) and advisor to a CPG (Alma Baking) startup. I have a goal to find the right organization to volunteer my time to bring my strategic and planning skillsets to.  

  • Founded and lead a technology startup that has grown to $3.7M ARR with 6 full time employees – Raised over $2.5M in capital from angel investors and investment funds including Ben Franklin Tech Partners (local  Philly fund connected to the city) 
  • Robust background in marketing and advertising from experience at MRM McCann  

Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have  volunteered (if applicable).  

I became a member of KCFC in 2015, and have enjoyed following the journey. Unfortunately, I have lived in other cities  until recently coming back to Philadelphia permanently. Now that the pandemic is coming to an end + I am local again, I  am able to get involved with the local ecosystem and this is a priority for me.  

Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?  

The incredibly wide range of hard skills I have accumulated through my entrepreneurial experiences makes me a unique asset for any organization that is looking to optimize and grow. Also, I pride myself in bringing just as much on the soft skill side to help facilitate an empowering and exciting culture for an organization to thrive in. 

  • Fundraising  
  • Marketing  
  • Financial planning  
  • Hiring and talent management 
  • Business planning 
  • Business modeling  
  • Sales & partnerships  
  • Shareholder relations 
  • Culture building  

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Olivia Kalasky
Member-Owner #: 1305 

Cooperative/Store issues of particular interest to me:  

  1. Community presence, outreach, collaboration and activation 
  2. Fundraising and capital campaigns 
  3. Diversity through KCFC market offerings and membership 

Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions.

I’ve lived in Philadelphia for over a decade. A few years ago, I became a homeowner in Kensington with my  husband, Matthew, a stone’s throw away (~800 ft!) from the Kensington Community Food Co-Op. A graduate of  Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, I’ve established myself as a respected leader and  accountable peer through project management and event planning in higher education, the arts and non-profits.  I’m currently pursuing my MBA/MS in Business Analytics from the Fox School of Business on my mission to create  equitable business opportunities in developing communities. In Philadelphia, I’ve led a local non-profit’s auction  committee and successfully raised more than our annual fundraising goal in 2020, and have volunteered to organize an annual clean-up for the Black, Coyle & McBride playground (aka Pop’s Park). My passion- what I rely on to make  connections, reflect, and grow- is cooking and sharing meals with others.  

Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you  have volunteered (if applicable).

I am proud member-owner #1305 since 2020, and a patron since its opening. While I have not had the pleasure  of volunteering with the Kensington Community Food Co-Op, I have been a vocal advocate as it has established  itself in this neighborhood and I’ve enjoyed watching it evolve into the store it is today. I have a vivid memory of  an early member campaign at the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival when I was a college student, and knew then as I  do now that this co-op is something I want to be part of.  

Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?

I should be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors because I care. I care about this community, our neighbors  and neighborhood. I am committed to contributing and collaborating towards equitable growth and development for Kensington residents and businesses, both new and life-long. My background in the arts and business places me  in a unique position to work effectively with curiosity, creativity, and consideration for others. I bring with me almost a decade of successful event, fundraising, and project management experience, as well as board service and  active volunteer work with Philadelphia organizations. A collaboration enthusiast, I live by the phrase ‘team work makes the dream work’. There’s no problem we can’t solve together. 

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Kristen Levenick 

Member-Owner #:  902
Cooperative/Store issues of particular interest to me:

1. Sustainability

2. Healthy/local/accessible food options

3. Membership & community engagement

Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions. 

After attending high school in the suburbs then leaving for college, I returned to the Philly area and moved to the city in 2012. I migrated to East Kensington a short time later in 2016, and in 2018 my husband and I bought a house just blocks away from the co-op. Our home borders the Huntingdon Emerald Park, which we volunteer to help upkeep through watering/gardening and clean-ups.

I’ve spent my entire career working for early stage start-up companies in various client-facing capacities, focused on delivering solutions in branding, marketing, social media, and human resources. My current role is Vice President of Client Services for Careerminds, an HR company that offers virtual career transition services.

Outside of work, I’m passionate about community, sustainability, gender/racial equity. I volunteer with Women’s Way, and am currently serving my third year as Vice Chair of the organization’s Young Women’s Initiative (YWI).

Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have volunteered (if applicable). 

I have been a KCFC member-owner since January 2019. It was also around this time that I briefly joined and began volunteering with the marketing committee, though the store opened just a few months later so my involvement was short-lived. Because we live right around the corner, we shop for our groceries almost exclusively at the co-op and are very invested in its future in our neighborhood. 

Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring? 

I believe I’ll bring a unique perspective to the board, coming from a start-up background with significant marketing and events experience, but also as a long-term transplant to the neighborhood. Also my passion for sustainable and healthy food, paired with my understanding of the diverse populations that call the Riverwards area home, and the need for the co-op to be accessible to all. I love this neighborhood and see the co-op as such a unique cornerstone for the community!

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Holly Logan
Member-Owner #: 67

Cooperative/Store issues of particular interest to me: 

  1. Accessibility and affordability in food systems 
  2. Cooperative Principle #7: Concern for Community – in the same vein as our Ends statement in sustaining a  “thriving, healthy community and environment”, I hope we can dive deeper into our social responsibility as a food  cooperative 
  3. Cooperative Principle #5 Education, Training and Information – I’m eager to help our current member-owners  understand more about the value of cooperative economics and to spread the word to community members and opinion  leaders to enhance our collective power. 

Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership  positions and passions.  

After receiving my degree from Temple University, I served in AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps to pursue my  passion for community service, teamwork, and travel out West and down South. I returned to Philly and worked for an  international leadership development organization and am now with Temple University’s Career Center, building connections  between students/alumni and employers. I am also the co-founder of the Philly Fixers Guild and a former volunteer with  the now-dissolved Sustainable 19125/19134 initiative with the New Kensington Community Development Corporation  (NKCDC). I am an avid gardener, bicyclist, and volleyball player, and have lived in Kensington since 2009 with my partner  Mike, and our dog Tully. 

Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have  volunteered (if applicable).  

I joined KCFC in 2010 out of enthusiasm for improved food access and economic development in Kensington. From 2010 – 2014, I volunteered & then led the Membership/Media/Marketing Committees. In 2014, I ran for the board of directors, on  which I sat from until 2017. In the latter two years, I was honored to be voted into the role of board president, supported  three fruitful member loan campaigns, the recruitment and hiring of our tireless General Manager Mike Richards, and KCFC’s  groundbreaking. I cherish KCFC as a democratically-run member-owned grocery store and I see it as a community resource  to bring neighbors together to connect around important issues, such as accessibility and affordability in food systems,  empowerment of the disenfranchised, nutrition education, & cooperative economics.

Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?  

I am thrilled about this next phase KCFC is in, with an open store and a great staff and I’m eager to support the relationship  between current members and the store, as well as to find new members in the changing neighborhoods around KCFC. I  hope to deepen established relationships with community partners, like NKCDC, civic/neighborhood associations,  Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA), other cooperative boards in the region, the Food Policy Advisory Council  (FPAC) and more! I also look forward to collaborating with dedicated board members and our general manager on  conversations around good governance, accountability, transparency, and equity. In addition to my history of volunteering  with KCFC and participating financially in the member loan campaigns, I have experience in leadership & network  development, human resources, event planning, volunteer organizing, and nonprofit management.

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