FairWave Coffee Collective’s Isaac Hodges to be Honored as Idealist of the Year

Every year it gets a bit more difficult to choose an Idealist of the Year to recognize at City Year Kansas City’s annual Idealist Gala, and it’s not because we’re running out of inspiration. On the contrary, it’s because we intentionally surround ourselves with people who match the nonprofit’s description of what it means to be an idealist–people who are equal parts ambitious and conscientious–that our decision is so challenging (and we plan to keep it that way).

But this year, one colleague rose to the top for the way he empowers those around him: Isaac Hodges, President of FairWave Coffee Collective’s Kansas City Market.

2023 Idealist of the Year: Isaac Hodges

Isaac believes that changing the world requires both strength of character and strength in numbers. He doesn’t just want to be an idealist. He wants to equip others to join him.

These values are evident in the way Isaac leads the Kansas City-based brands within FairWave Coffee Collective, including The Roasterie Coffee Company, Messenger Coffee Company, Ibis Bakery, Filling Station Coffee Garage, and Black Dog Coffeehouse. He consistently endeavors to inspire his team and give them the tools and opportunities they need to think and act beyond their usual sphere of influence. This culture of courage and care has led Isaac and his team to develop charitable partnerships with several community organizations, including Ability KC, Synergy Services, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Family Support Fund at Children’s Mercy, Black Drip Coffee, and the University of Kansas GED fund.

Isaac first honed these skills as an elementary PE teacher in De Soto, Kansas, where he saw that creating environments for safe exploration and action could build confidence and reinforce the power and value of the both individual and the team. Equity in education remains a passion, and Isaac regularly donates his time to organizations like Get on the Bus and to KU’s graduate programs.

Isaac and his fellow Idealist honorees will be recognized at the Idealist Gala held at Arrowhead Stadium on April 19. If you have any stories or words of encouragement to share with Isaac, or if you’d like to learn more about how you can support City Year’s mission in Kansas City, we’d love to hear from you.

About City Year Kansas City
City Year Kansas City partners with Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) to support and accelerate the district’s overall Strategic Plan. In addition to serving as role models and mentors, AmeriCorps members provide academic assistance to help students make significant gains in both reading and math. City Year is also a lead provider of after school tutoring and after school clubs (e.g., dance, yoga, step team, art club) in KCPS middle and high schools.