KFTC Blog | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth


Join us in congratulating – and working beside – KFTC’s Co-Executive Directors

Posted by: KFTC Steering Committee on May 10, 2022

KFTC’s Steering Committee is excited to announce that Joan Brannon and Lisa Abbott have accepted the positions of Co-Executive Directors!

Joan and Lisa are a committed and dynamic pair to steward KFTC’s work toward our
Audacious Goal and vision. They bring a combination of organizational knowledge and fresh perspective, cultural organizing experience and campaign skills, and so much more to our executive leadership.

Joan Brannon has worked to advance racial, economic, and social justice for over three decades. A Kentucky born percussionist and filmmaker, Joan is a healing activist, who utilizes art as a tool for community-building throughout the state. She founded DrummingWorks and has held leadership positions in non-profit and arts organizations, including the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, West Louisville Women’s Collaborative, ArtsPower and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Joan joined KFTC’s staff team last year as Organizing Co-Director and has supported KFTC’s Organizational Change Initiative, Healing and Reconciliation, staffed the Racial Justice Policy Strategy Team, worked with the Voting Rights Spokesperson Initiative, and more.



Lisa Abbott began organizing with KFTC chapters in Eastern Kentucky in 1992, and has served in a range of leadership roles within KFTC’s organizing team over three decades. She is currently an Organizing Co-Director and coordinates KFTC’s work on climate, energy and environmental justice, and Just Transition. She led a collaborative process from 2015 to 2017 to create the Empower Kentucky Plan and has continued to support KFTC chapters, recently working with Big Sandy members to launch the EKY Community Remembrance Project.

She currently represents KFTC with the Green New Deal Network, Rural Power Coalition, and United Frontline Table, serves on the boards of Climate Justice Alliance and New World Foundation, and is a Philanthropic Trustee of The Solutions Project.

“This creates a new chapter for KFTC, one that invites those that believe change is possible to join the movement,” noted Ebony O’Rea, KFTC At Large Representative. “Joan and Lisa create the balance that will help us all get to our next, new shore.”


As the search for new leadership ends, we thank the Transition Team – Rebecca Tucker, David Miller, Kathy Curtis, K.A. Owens, Dana Beasley Brown, Sharon Murphy, Tayna Fogle, Jessica Hays Lucas, and Heather Mahoney – for their patient, persistent, principled, and productive work over the last 15 months. Thanks also to Emily Goldfarb and Anita Budhraja with GoldRio Consulting for their guidance and support. We owe an especially tremendous amount of gratitude to Heather Mahoney, who also served as Acting Executive Director during this time. 


Time after time in KFTC’s journey – beginning with the members at that first KFTC meeting in 1981 and continuing through scores of grassroots leaders and staff team members – people have shown up to share leadership of the organization and work for a better Kentucky.  We look forward to Joan and Lisa’s contributions to that story.

As Kathy Curtis, KFTC At-Large Representative, said, “In Joan and Lisa we have a team of women dedicated to a better KFTC and Kentucky. All they need is us beside them.”

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating – and working beside – KFTC’s new Co-Executive Directors, Joan Brannon and Lisa Abbott.

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Which side?

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Dear KFTC Friends, Family, and Community,

Plenty of opportunities to take Action for Democracy

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Roots and Heritage 2019 - 9/8-19

Building the Democracy Kentucky needs is a key step to winning our vision for Kentucky’s future.  We need to make sure all Kentucky voices have a chance to be heard

The campaign to restore voting rights of Kentuckians with felonies in their past is continuing, with increasing field work to find the 170,000 people who recently got their right to vote back and to help them register to vote!  That’s happening alongside our online efforts to train people, reach people through texting, lobby legislators, and more.

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Members of the Empower Kentucky Leadership Cohort gathered in November 2019
Posted by: KFTC Staff on July 21, 2021

A number of Kentucky Just Transition Organizing Fellowship Stipends will be awarded in the fall of 2021 to celebrate, strengthen, and invest in community, labor, youth, and cultural organ

Why we organize for Climate Justice, Racial Justice, a Just Transition, and a healthy democracy

Posted by: KFTC Staff on July 19, 2021

Anyone in the U.S. under the age of forty and paying attention has lived their entire life aware of the existential threat caused by the global climate crisis. In recent years, Americans of all ages have expressed increased levels of alarm and urgency about climate change. According to Pew Research Center, in 2020 nearly seven-in-ten Biden voters (sixty-eight percent) said climate change was very important to their vote; six-in-ten Americans viewed climate change as “a major threat to the well-being of the U.S.” A Tufts University study found that young Americans named climate change as one of their top three concerns motivating them to vote in 2020, behind COVID-19 and racism.  

Reflecting on the Just Imagine Art Show

Posted by: KFTC Staff on July 19, 2021

Graphic and website created by Seun Erinle of Grid Principles (gridprinciples.com)On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, KFTC members hosted a virtual launch event for The Just Imagine Art Show: Healing harm, sharing grief, envisioning the Kentucky we deserve. 

The idea for this art show emerged from a small crew of KFTC members and staff from the Empower Kentucky Leadership Network – Mikaela Curry, Trinidad Jackson, Tona Barkley, Lisa Abbott, and Nikita Perumal – who have, since late 2019, been working together to deepen KFTC’s understanding of Just Transition.


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