Breaktime Cafe - Harvard

Please check out our website for more information! If you are interested in getting even more involved or speaking directly with our team, please email [email redacted] - thank you!

Hi, this is Tony Shu and Connor Schoen! We are undergraduates at Harvard University, and we became close friends while volunteering at a youth homeless shelter in Harvard Square. While at this shelter, we both became deeply passionate about the issue of housing insecurity for young adults. After speaking with guests, doing our own research, and meeting with local non-profits, we found that getting and maintaining a job was a major challenge for many of these young people. We were inspired by this urgent issue to break the stigmatization of homelessness and help our peers get on a successful career track. That’s why we created Breaktime.

Breaktime is a social enterprise that is opening a cafe near Harvard University to provide stable employment, vocational training, and career-based education to young adults experiencing homelessness.

We are raising money to cover some of the buildout costs for our first store that is opening near Harvard. While our fundraising strategy incorporates several different sources, we are extremely grateful for individual personal donations as we deeply believe in engaging individuals from our community and beyond. All donations will directly go towards expenses such as: three-bay sink and plumbing; installing seating, serving counters, and storage; coffee machines; signage and branding of the store; our point of sales system and more.

With your financial support, Breaktime could be up and running by September 2018.


Rewards for donating:

People/Organizations who donate…

-$100 will be considered Bronze Sponsors and will be recognized on our website
-$500 will be named Silver Sponsors, will be recognized on our website, and will be invited to our Grand Opening event in the fall
-$1000 will be named Gold Sponsors, will be recognized on our website, will be invited to our Grand Opening event in the fall, and will be honored at this event
-$5000 or more will be named Platinum Sponsors, will be recognized on our website, will be invited to our Grand Opening event in the fall, will be honored at this event, and will have their name put up in our first store


More about this issue and our model:

According to a survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Homeless, 70.4% of homeless respondents reported being discriminated against by private companies simply based on housing status. We aim to bring compassion and ethics back into the food industry and believe that running a successful business and maintaining a social mission can go hand-in-hand.

We do this by operating efficiently, easily, and with lower fixed costs. By working with local wholesale food providers, like Union Square Donuts, we can expand their brand and business while reducing the amount of equipment we need in our cafe. This way, we can focus on developing the best employment and training program for employees. By partnering with local shelters, non-profits, and school organizations, we can ensure that our employees learn relevant and comprehensive job skills, receive useful certifications, build interpersonal skills, and gain confidence. Finally, each employee will be paired with a one-on-one mentor who can provide guidance and support for next steps in our employees’ careers/lives.

We have received generous grants as winners of the 2018 Harvard College Innovation Challenge and the Harvard Innovation and Ventures in Education competition, but we really need your help to reach our fundraising goal and make Breaktime a reality.


Thank you so much for your generosity, and we’re excited to have you join us in our mission to end the cycle of homelessness! Follow our journey on our website  as well as Instagram (@breaktimeboston), Facebook, and LinkedIn .
  • Kevin Kinsella 
    • $25 
    • 33 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Arthur Segel 
    • $250 
    • 41 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $430 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 43 mos
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Fundraising team: Breaktime Cafe (3)

Tony Shu 
Raised $3,125 from 21 donations
Cambridge, MA
Arun Jeevanantham 
Team member
Arya Murthi 
Team member