Nonprofits never really seemed to intrigue the business-minded professionals in the world. They seemed small, unable to make money, and only would get business as a pity gesture. While some nonprofits fall into this category, most of the time it is because the founders care more about the mission rather than running a good business.
However, there are sometimes when a strong business mind with a passion for a purpose comes onto the stage. One of the first ones to build an incredible business that supported a passion was Blake Mycoskie, the founder of the shoe company Toms. After Blake showed the world that it was possible to build an outstanding business that not only profited, but that also supported some sort of mission, others began to follow.
Do these companies compete against the big players such as Amazon, Chic-Fil-A, or Hilton Hotels? Definitely not. But, they do push for success in both the business and mission realm and that deserves an applause.
The Top Nonprofits Killing it in the Business World
With that in mind, here are some great nonprofits that will blow your socks off with a great product, but also will tug at the heart strings a bit.
Street Bean (Seattle, WA)Judging by the name, I’m sure you can figure out that it is a coffee shop. But, it is not just a coffee shop. Street Bean serves the homeless or at-risk youth of Seattle, Washington. They do this by employing them at the coffee shop, training them on the hard and soft skills of the retail business, and then paying them a nice pay check. All of this is in hopes to get them built up enough so that they will be self-sustaining.
In addition to all of this, they have partnered with a major nonprofit in the Seattle area. With this partnership, they have an entire room full of computers and helpers to assist them when they need help with school, documentation, or any other needs that they might have.
They currently have two locations in the Greater Seattle Area and just opened up their own roastery. They also just partnered with a cider company in order that they can distribute and sell their amazing cold brew.
If you are ever in the Seattle area, do not forget to swing by the coffee shop and see the awesome work that they are doing. Not only is the mission cool, but they are one of the top rated coffee shops in the Seattle area, according to Yelp. That has to tell you something of how good that coffee tastes!
Scarlet’s Bakery (Louisville, KY)Rachelle Starr originally lived in Florida, but ended up moving to Louisville some years ago. At this time, she was a wedding cake maker. This was her life, until she decided to visit a strip club and start talking with the women in the adult entertainment industry. As a Christian, Rachelle realized the importance of reaching out to the people that society often neglects or looks down upon. So, not only did she build relationships with most of the strippers, but she actually built an entire nonprofit called “Scarlett’s Hope” which continues to do this in all but one strip club in Louisville.
But, that’s not all. She also opened a bakery to channel her inner caker maker days. Similar to Street Bean, she employs the women who want to leave the industry and start a new life. She will teach them the hard and soft skills needed to be successful outside of the adult entertainment.
If you are able to visit, you can pick up a dessert or baked good from the store. Their primary focus is catering for events and meetings. Originally, they were planning on employing anywhere from four to six employees. However, they have been very successful and have been creating some amazing desserts.
Edwins Restaurant (Cleveland, OH)Moving onto the higher end restaurants, Edwins Restaurants is providing Cleveland with some of the best and most authentic French Cuisine. Trust me, this restaurant is the real deal. Here are just a few items on their dinner menu: seared foie gras peach compote with wild strawberry and verjus sauce, spring lamb and apricot terrine with mint and rosemary, and burgundy snails with caramelized fennel with garlic butter and parsley. All of these are surprisingly affordable for the delicacy that they are.
If your mouth does not start watering from those, I do not know what you want. The missional aspect of it comes in a similar way to the other two. Edwins employs individuals who have been convicted of crimes or have actually served time in prison.
The amazing part of this is that they are embracing the “risk” that comes with employing them. While other businesses would shy away from someone who had a past with the law, these people actually run to it. They then train them in hopes to be the bridge to new opportunities.
These are just three of the restaurants that have made a great impact on society. While supporting nonprofits is great, the fact that these people are earning your business should make you want to go all the more.
If these places are not in your area, do some research to try and find some that are closer to you. You would be surprised at what you find. Why not change where you get your daily cup of coffee and help save an at-risk youth’s live or take your spouse out to a nice dinner and help someone with a past with the law? The options are limitless.
If I missed some that you think I should know about, please let me know. I would love to learn about their stories.