Former Republican Wyoming gubernatorial candidate and Daily Caller initial investor Foster Friess is launching his second annual National Coffee Challenge on Tuesday.
The challenge encourages people to return to civility by taking a coffee break with someone that they disagree with politically to discuss topics in a casual and friendly setting.
The conservative business investor started the initiative after being inspired by a video that highlighted the unlikely relationship between two polar-opposite ideological opponents: Donna Red Wing, the former leader of LGBT activist group One Iowa, and Bob Vander Plaats, the president of The Family Leader, a Christian pro-life organization in Iowa.
In an unexpected invitation, Red Wing asked Vander Plaats out to coffee, which led to their friendship. You can watch the video here:
Red Wing and Vander Plaats continued to get coffee every couple of months and stayed friends up until Red Wing passed away on April 16th, 2018. Launching the challenge in Red Wing’s example, Friess is looking for people to invite those they disagree with to coffee and share it online. Friess even included a monetary incentive to do so.
“In honor of Donna Red Wing, on April 16th invite someone with whom you disagree or have fallen out to coffee. Share your story on Twitter using #return2civility. I’ll highlight the best stories with a $250 kindness award,” wrote Friess on Twitter.
In honor of Donna Red Wing, on April 16th invite someone with whom you disagree or have fallen out to coffee. Share your story on Twitter using #return2civility. I’ll highlight the best stories with a $250 kindness award. @OneIowa @theFAMiLYLEADER @HRC @mike_pence @PeteButtigieg pic.twitter.com/YM0w1rhRFV
— Foster Friess (@FosterFriess) April 14, 2019
“More than ever, we need people to be more civil, it’s not about agreeing with each other,” wrote Friess in an email to The Daily Caller. “Bob nor Donna ever changed their views on gay marriage, but they changed their approach.”
Last year, the National Coffee Challenge was picked up by notable figures such as former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who asked Van Jones to coffee, and Fox News host Laura Ingraham who reached out to Rachel Maddow.
— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) August 21, 2017
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) August 22, 2017
Endorsed by President Donald Trump, Friess was a former Wyoming gubernatorial candidate in 2018 and has supported a variety of causes, such as clean water, international justice and children’s education. The National Coffee Challenge promotes civility and transparency, which is one of his main calling points.
“We’re working to keep America on the right trail,” reads Friess’ website. “Transparency in healthcare prices, school choice and school safety, and defending free markets and opportunity are some of our biggest projects in 2019. None of these are ‘republican’ or ‘democrat’ projects, they’re projects that we can work towards together, join us.”