Earlier this year I asked a series of questions about SWO’s job creation numbers and profitability (or lack thereof, thus far) and I noted that despite its claim to be organic – the word “Organic” is right there in the company’s name, after all – Sweet Water “Organic” really isn’t certified as organic.
This Friday, three bands will be holding fundraiser at Club Garibaldi to support SWO, but upon reading about the fundraiser I was left with a few questions. Notably, I was left wondering whether the funds raised on Friday would be used to support the for-profit Sweet Water “Organics” entity or the not-for-profit Sweet Water Foundation. After all, I could certainly rationalize the funds being used to support the Sweet Water Foundation, but I’m having a hard time understanding why a for-profit company that recently received a forgivable $250,000 loan from the City of Milwaukee would need to hold a fundraiser.
I attempted to reach Sweetwater “Organics” VP/Sales Manager Todd Leech for clarification on whether the funds raised would support the for-profit arm of Sweet Water Organics or the non-profit Sweet Water Foundation, but Leech refused to comment on the record to clarify the situation. While I understand Todd Leech’s reticence to respond to my inquiries given how critical I’ve been of Sweet Water Organics, I find his refusal to respond directly to my questions to be curious, given he once attacked me for not contacting him prior to a previous story. However, while I was unsuccessful in my attempts to get some comment from Todd Leech, I did have contact with Kevin Brown from RedBelt, one of the bands holding the fundraiser, and Brown explained to me, “First and foremost, this was my idea from the beginning and I approached Sweet Water about wanting to donate some money (a portion of the proceeds) for their efforts with this gig coming up on Friday.” Brown’s answer to my inquiry was reasonable, and I appreciate the fact that unlike Todd Leech, Brown was willing to provide me with an explanation for the reasons behind the fundraiser.
So despite my best efforts to get someone from Sweet Water “Organics” to answer my questions, I’m still left wondering two things.
- Is the fundraiser for the non-profit or the for-profit part of SWO?
- If the fundraiser is for the for-profit part of SWO, why does the for-profit need to hold a fundraiser, especially on the heels of having received a significant loan from the City of Milwaukee?
EDIT: According to an email I received from Kevin Brown shortly after this was posted, the fundraiser will be in support of the non-profit Sweet Water Foundation, but Todd Leech has refused to respond to my inquiry regarding the situation.