Coffeed, a New York City based coffee shop chain, is dedicated to supporting various local charities. Their mission is to become one of the most charitable companies in the world. They aim to serve quality coffee and food at affordable prices, and each location donates between 3-10 percent of their gross revenue to charity.
Coffeed’s CEO and founder, Frank “Turtle” Raffaele, was a stock trader on Wall Street before the 2008 stock market crash. After the crash, he decided to pursue a new path and started Coffeed along with three other former traders. The flagship café opened in 2012 in Long Island City. Currently, there are six Coffeed stores in New York City, and, to take the company international, a seventh café is planned for Seoul. Each location is partnered with a different local nonprofit, such as Community Mainstreaming Associates or the Refugee and Immigrant Fund.
One shop is located in Chelsea at the headquarters of the Foundling organization, a nonprofit that provides foster care and adoption services. Coffeed donates to Foundling in exchange for reduced rent in this busy location. They also dedicate a portion of the café to displaying information about Foundling’s work and issues related to poverty and inequality. Furthermore, they employ some of Foundling’s clients, including developmentally disabled adults and teenaged foster children.
Coffeed’s flagship café partners with Brooklyn Grange, a small farm located on their rooftop. They source most of their produce from this farm and support the City Growers organization, which educates the community about sustainability and agriculture.
Raffaele operates Coffeed on a number of important principles. They serve only Fair Trade coffee and try to keep business local by sourcing high quality ingredients from local vendors and supporting local charities. The cafes are meant to be safe, comfortable spaces for customers where they can enjoy food and coffee at reasonable prices. They work to promote sustainability by engaging in environmental practices such as composting. They regularly refine their coffee roasting and prep procedures. Staff members are carefully selected and work to educate consumers about their products. But the guiding principle for this company is putting charity first.
Raffaele hopes to open 15 to 20 locations in the next five years by connecting with fundraisers and investors. One of his main objectives for Coffeed is to prove that business can be both charitable and profitable. The model has been successful so far and could inspire more businesses to follow suit as the chain goes international.
– Jane Harkness