Meet the 2018 Community Change Makers Award Winner: Minna Nilanont, M.Ed


National Cannabis Festival in partnership with The Cross Family, Metropolitan Wellness Center and National Holistic Healing Center are proud to announce Minna Nilanont, M.Ed (they, them, theirs) as the first-ever Kevin K. Cross Change Makers Award honoring an unsung hero in the community who goes above and beyond to help/support others.

Minna is the owner of Hemp Kettle Tea Co. an indy-tea company specializing in organic, wild-crafted, and certified natural herbs, teas, and spices with hemp seed. More than providing nourishing teas, Minna's company is also a vehicle for advocacy and charity with portions of tea sales going to local organizations to help improve quality of life and lend support to LGBTQIAC community members. Hemp Kettle Tea Co.'s community partners include HIPS DC, Impulse Group DC, Casa Ruby, PFLAG, DC Center for LGBT Community, and Rayceen Show. Supporting social causes is part of the Hemp Kettle Tea Co. business model. 

In addition to being a business owner focused on social good, Minna is also one of the most kind-hearted and generous people in our community. Anyone that's encountered Minna is greeted with a bright smile and a warm hug. Minna regularly donates tea, volunteer hours and resources to local non-profits and encourages others to do the same. 

While Kevin cannot be with us to present this award we know that he would wholeheartedly approve of this selection and we know that he'll be smiling down on us on April 21st as the National Cannabis Festival team, Metropolitan Wellness Center and National Holistic Healing Center take the stage with the Cross Family to present Minna with the Community Change Makers Award.

Congratulations Minna! We know that you will honor Kevin's legacy by continuing to shine your bright light on the world through your kindness and selflessness. 

Follow Minna and Hemp Kettle Tea Co. on Facebook, Instragram and Twitter: @hempkettletea

Some words from Minna....

I remember the first time I met Kevin. He had a very special smile and relaxed way of being that made you feel safe and welcome. His warmth, easy humor, and the love and care he shared with others was inspirational and his memory lives on. His positivity and actions have left imprints on our hearts and created ripple effects of positivity, selfless love, and service to others. 

I am truly honored to receive the first Kevin Cross Community Change Makers. With immense gratitude, I thank the Cross Family, Metropolitan Wellness Center, National Holistic Healing Center and National Cannabis Festival.

When I received the call, I knew exactly what I would do with the prize. All money will go directly to these organizations and funding various Hemp Kettle Tea Company, LLC. events and prizes that will benefit specific marginalized groups within the greater communities we live in. Some of these are national orgs, some of them are local. I hope that you too will join me in donating money, time, or referring their services to someone who could benefit from them.

  • Baltimore Outreach Services - Helping the homeless of Baltimore
  • Youth Empowered Society - Helping the homeless youth of Baltimore
  • Hollaback Bmore - Fighting to end street harassement
  • House of Ruth - Providing shelter for women escaping domestic abuse
  • RAINN - Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network 
  • FAIR Girls - Providing intervention and holistic care to survivors of human trafficking who identify as girls or young women
  • SurvJustice - Providing institutional training and legal support and advocacy for survivors of sexual assault 
  • Planned Parenthood - Assisting access to a wide range of sexual health services
  • Black Lives Matter - Fighting for Black lives and against systemic racism
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund - Fighting for civil rights for people of color
  • Southern Poverty Law Center - Specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation 
  • Doctors Without Borders - Providing medical care in war-torn areas or areas affected by endemic disease
  • Habitat for Humanity - Repairing and rehabilitating homes for low-income community members
  • Maryland Food Collective - University of Maryland Food Co-op
  • Maryland Food Bank - Providing food security in Maryland
  • Federation of Virginia Food Banks - Providing food security in Virginia
  • Capital Area Food Bank - Providing food security in DC
  • FISH of Laurel - A Laurel food pantry
  • PFLAG - Uniting families and allies with LGBTQIA community
  • SMYAL - Supporting LGBTQIA youth
  • Impulse Group DC - Supporting the gay men with HIV/AIDS
  • Casa Ruby - Bilingual org supporting low-income LGBTQIA members in DC
  • HIPS DC - Supporting harm reduction for sex workers
  • Chase Brexton Healthcare - Providing medical support to LGBTQIA members
  • One DC - Fighting for racial and economic equality in the District
  • Dance Safe DC - Providing harm reduction services at festivals
  • Collective Action for Safe Spaces - Training bars and restau staff to end public gendered harassment and assault
  • National Center for Transgender Equality - Providing political advocacy for trans folx
  • WPFW 89.3 FM Jazz and Justice - Social justice radio by the people
  • WAMU 88.5 NPR - Real news
  • WTMD 89.7 - Music that helps me feel better
  • The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter - For the woofs and meows MD.
  • Humane Rescue Alliance - For the woofs and meows DC.
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy - Students advocating to end the drug war
  • Innocence Project - Putting an end to wrongful convictions


Caroline Philips