By Deanna McGill | Photography by Dero Sanford | Shot on location at Faded Rose
Brian Kutsch’s philosophy for life aligns with the mission fulfillment work of Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families. Though you wouldn’t know it by his steadied appearance, Brian has a slight fear of heights. Despite these fears, he hikes mountains and scales cliffs in amazing locations. “Someone once asked me why I did those things. I realized that it was my way of confronting and controlling my fear,” Brian explains. “That response has morphed into my philosophy for tackling many of life’s challenges.”
Tackling life’s challenges, despite the complicated and scary nature, is the kind of work that Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families does. Established in 1977, the organization collaborates with legislators, coalitions and policy researchers on behalf of Arkansans who don’t have a strong voice in the public arena – specifically children who live in poverty. These actions help ensure that families across the state have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives. Soup Sunday supports this important, yet often unrealized work.
Along with fellow chairman Joshua Price, Brian will welcome guests to one of the tastiest afternoons in Central Arkansas. “I was speaking with Rhonna-Rose Akama-Makia and Chris Jones at an event in 2019 when Ryan Davis walked up to the three of us and asked us to help. Ryan successfully recruited three people with one ask. That’s pretty slick,” jokes Brian. This family-friendly gathering offers a unique opportunity to experience delicious soups from dozens of restaurants. Classic recipes, exclusive creations and traditional favorites will be available in a new location this year. Brian admires, “The Venue at Westwind is absolutely stunning and provides plenty of space and an ambiance of adventure for guests with surprises around every corner.”
Proceeds support continued advocacy that impacts the welfare of Arkansas families. This includes areas such as health care, education, juvenile justice, economic security and tax reform. It supplements the operating expenses of Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families that grant funding doesn’t support. “Recent times are challenging for many in our community, and that is why this work is even more critical,” says Brian. Access to health insurance, paid sick leave and economic security are all fragile issues that the pandemic revealed as weaknesses towards a healthy and productive life.
Brian’s volunteerism with Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families, as well as his rich family legacy, satisfies a hunger for mission. “Nearly every job I have ever held served to further a cause that was greater than my individual efforts. Serving a mission that helps to improve the lives of others is what drives me to work hard each day. My grandparents, parents, and many other family members modeled that behavior that instilled a sense of duty that will remain with me for the rest of my life,” states Brian. He currently works at the Little Rock Zoo. What else satisfies hunger on a cold February day? Soup.