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It All Starts Here

Former Pitcher Uses Coffee to Make a Difference

Emeralds Alumnus, Sean Barry, founded the Random Acts of Kindness Coffee Company in 2019, that gives 20% of each purchase to a nonprofit.
May 18, 2020

Every Little Leaguer dreams of one day playing for a Major League team, and being able to call themselves a professional baseball player. In 2017, almost 900 young men were drafted, but only 10% of those ball players are expected to make it to the big league and suit up

Every Little Leaguer dreams of one day playing for a Major League team, and being able to call themselves a professional baseball player. In 2017, almost 900 young men were drafted, but only 10% of those ball players are expected to make it to the big league and suit up for a Major League game. Sean Barry, did not fully achieve the Little Leaguer’s dream, but his time with the Emeralds led him to an even more fulfilling dream: creating a business that helps others.

Barry was drafted in the 21st round of 2017 after his cutter caught the attention of the Chicago Cubs. While playing for the Eugene Emeralds in 2018 his 1.77 ERA was good enough to earn him a spot on the Northwest League’s All-Star roster. In 2019 he was promoted to South Bend and did well there, but it wasn’t enough for the 24-year-old Barry and he retired from professional baseball at the end of the season. “The dilemma for every minor leaguer is weighing how long to put off your life to chase your dream, and for me the right decision was to hang them up and start my career.”

Barry’s passion for coffee was well known during his time in the Emeralds clubhouse. When he prepared a batch of his personal cold brew his teammates would lap it up. So, it was logical that Barry turned to coffee when he retired from baseball. Based on a business plan he wrote in Eugene, Barry and two friends founded the Random Acts of Kindness Coffee Company, RAK Coffee in 2019.

RAK Coffee is more than just good coffee, it’s about helping those in need. “I grew up in an amazing family with amazing parents who gave me everything I could asked for to succeed in life, and I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to give back and help people who weren’t as blessed as I am,” Barry said. RAK’s coffee is hand selected from small farms around the world, and a fraction of each sale is given to nonprofit organizations with successful records of helping people.

“Coffee is something people drink every single day,” said Barry. “So why not drink some that is more flavorful, has more caffeine, and comes from a company who wants to do a lot of good in the world.” When a customer purchases a bag of RAK Coffee they are able to choose a nonprofit which will receive 20% of their purchase.

“I choose 20% because it seemed like enough to make an impact,” said Barry. The company currently supports three nonprofits: Forever Found, which exists for the prevention, rescue and restoration of child trafficking victims; Progression Athletics International, which provides recreational sports to underprivileged youth in six countries; and Build a Miracle, which provides homes and educational opportunities for hundreds of families in Tijuana’s impoverished communities.

“We wanted to partner with nonprofits that were a little smaller so we could actually see where the money is going,” Barry said. “All three exemplify everything we stand for at RAK Coffee, and are doing amazing things around the world.”

The Eugene Emeralds are proud to have alumnus like Barry, who continue to make an impact off the diamond. Barry encourages Emeralds fans to check out his coffee and the causes it supports. “It really is some of the best coffee in the world and we are doing a lot of cool things for people.” You can find their website at rakcoffee.com.

To hear more stories from Sean Barry on his time in Eugene, tune into THE Minor League Baseball Podcast for YOUR Eugene Emeralds, High and Inside.