Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cafe Too In The News

Crain's has an article on "new fundraising" -- existing non-profits creating businesses to support their causes. Our own Cafe Too is mentioned as a good example.

In the past three years, the Chicago Mayor's Office of Workforce Development has provided $1.2 million in grants to seven non-profits with businesses that train ex-convicts for jobs. The grants come with the backing of the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, whose students help the organizations improve their business plans.

They include Café Too, a busy Uptown restaurant and coffee bar known for its eggs benedict at Sunday brunch. Inspiration Corp., a Chicago-based non-profit focused on ending poverty and homelessness, opened the restaurant in 2000. Inspiration uses the restaurant to hone its clients' job skills. The trainees, mostly middle-aged ex-convicts or recovering addicts, work in the restaurant for nine weeks. About 75% of them land stable jobs after leaving the program, says Margaret Haywood, director of training and social enterprise.

The restaurant itself does not turn a profit, mainly because the training program adds costs, such as feeding the students. But with an expected $190,000 in revenue this year, it's close to breaking even.

The goal isn't profits, "but to build more ways to train more people," Ms. Haywood says. To that end, Inspiration may add a bakery, a second location or a catering business.

1 comment:

  1. I've eaten there several times and it's usually very good.