Article: INC. - "How This Coffee Shop's Good Deeds Landed Its Killer Location"

by Kimberly Weisul

Photo: Ryan Lash

Photo: Ryan Lash

Sometimes doing good is its own reward--but sometimes it also gets you bargain rent in a prime New York City location. 

In 2014, New York coffee shop Coffeed was invited to participate in an unusual competition: The New York Foundling, a not-for-profit that owns its own office space on the edge of Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, was offering part of its lobby for use as a coffee shop. Rent would be $6,000 a month--about half of the estimated market rates.

The Foundling, one of New York's largest providers of foster care and adoption services, promised to award the space to the applicant who would do the most for New York's poor children. "We wanted a focus on empowerment, not gloom and doom," says Bethany Lampland, the non-profit's chief operating officer.

Ninety-four coffee shops responded to the Foundling's proposal, and most offered to donate a share of revenues or profits to the Foundling or similar non-profits. But Coffeed, which has a deep (if not long) history working with not-for-profits, got more creative: Yes, it would donate 10 percent of beverage sales, and five percent of food sales, to the Foundling. But it also said it would allocate 25 percent of the café's interior space to information about issues of poverty and disadvantaged children. Where appropriate, it would give first priority in hiring to the Foundling's clients.

***To read the article in its entirety, visit Inc.