Who We Are:
Our mission is to open a Nonprofit Coffee Shop to employ people with various disabilities who would otherwise struggle to find meaningful employment. Esteamed Coffee, Inc. is the culmination of taking all the pressure of living with a disability and turning it into something beautiful.
Hi, I'm Angie Hudson, and I have been legally blind since college, over 30 years now. Every struggle and challenge in my life has brought me to this dream of opening Esteamed Coffee! I have a passion for giving people with disabilities -- like myself -- a respected, public place in our local community. Esteamed Coffee is also the dream of my good friend and Co -Founder, Tamara Lapsley, a Speech Language Pathologist. With her decades of experience, Tamara is highly skilled to be the Training Director for the dozens of employees and volunteers with disabilities whom we will hire.
Esteamed Coffee, Inc., became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on May 1, 2019. Together with our Board of Directors, we are now pushing to complete our fundraising by late spring, 2020 so we can open our shop this fall. We were awarded a $5,000.00 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation for our Workforce Development Training Program which will ensure that our new employees are comfortable and confident before we host our Grand Opening.
The pictures at the bottom of the page show our September and December fundraisers with some of our potential employees. I've also included a rendering of what we'd like our coffee shop to look like. We hope to have a semi-private space for groups to hold many types of gatherings and an outdoor seating area as well. To date, we’ve raised about $98,000 towards our goal of $275,000. With this GoFundMe goal of $39,000, you can help us reach the halfway mark ($137,500) in our journey to the finish line! With your support, we know we can make it to the grand opening of Esteamed Coffee!
What's the Problem?
Did you know that more than 70% of people with disabilities are unemployed in the U.S.? Our goal is to make a positive change in this statistic in our corner of the world! We are specifically targeting three types of people with disabilities to employ: Visual impairments (like mine), communication deficits, and IDD (intellectual/developmental disabilities, like Down syndrome). There is a beautiful social movement in this positive direction, and we want to be part of the change!
Creating new employment opportunities for those with disabilities like me is just a TOOL we are using to literally change lives in many other ways. I know firsthand the isolation and lack of opportunities to interact with others and build relationships and a sense of being part of the community. As a person with a disability, I know that I have a lot to offer, and Esteamed Coffee is part of reaching my personal potential. I’m confident many others would be striving towards their personal potential if they could have a job at Esteamed Coffee. For some, it may be volunteering to greet customers and wipe tables for a few hours a week. For others, it may be working as a cashier or barista for above minimum wage per hour. We will do our best to adapt to the needs of each individual. For all, we will ESTEAM their unique worth as a person.
How Can Opening A Coffee Shop Help?
Our warm and welcoming coffee shop will give our employees a chance to gain confidence, independence, make new friends, be proud of their work, earn money, and have a supportive safe space to regain or learn new skills. In addition, for those employees who continue to receive speech-language therapy services, our goal is to incorporate many of their therapy goals into their work environment -- the "Life Participation Approach" to therapy. In other words, their job will provide them with relationship building opportunities and help them reach therapy goals!
The way Esteamed Coffee structures improving the most lives possible is to have a "Revolving Door" approach to our employees with disabilities. Once they have gained skills and confidence and are part of the community, we would be thrilled if they would be recruited to work at other companies, thus making room at Esteamed Coffee for us to hire and help new people! For some of our employees, Esteamed Coffee will be a perfect job fit long term; for others, it will be the stepping stone they need to get out into the community. From Esteamed Coffee, there’s no telling where they will be recruited to work on the next step in their journey! We can’t WAIT to open our shop and put a sign at our cash register that boldly states “We’re recruitable!” to give patrons the idea that our employees have gained basic work skills and are ready to be great employees in other companies in our community!
Why We Need Your Help
So, why are so many dollars needed? Good question.
We have attached a pie chart that shows the breakdown of why it costs so much. We have done our homework, and we are being mentored by a coffee shop which opened last year with the same mission and business model. They raised 300,000 before opening and still fundraise 30 percent of their monthly operating expenses. As the chart shows, part of our fundraising is for 4-6 months operating expenses (before opening) to give us a better chance at sustainability.
The biggest challenge is that training and payroll costs are higher than a typical coffee shop because we will have more employees than are typically needed -- three to four people working at all times to create the interaction and build the community feel we desire. It will all be worth it, but it takes a lot of funds to cover these additional payroll necessities.
OK, That's Enough Words!
I hear you! I'm almost done, but this is so exciting! Please help us make this dream a reality by watching our videos, checking out our website (link at top of page) and like our Esteamed Coffee FB page, too! We'd love to add you to our mailing list (at the bottom of our website home page) and most of all, if you could please donate to our worthy, tax exempt cause, we'd be most grateful to you! Every dollar is a blessing towards our mission of creating jobs for people with disabilities!
- Margo Harrell
- Michael Baker
- Jill McIntyre
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