Kate Newman is a former research assistant at the Case Foundation. She is currently a Senior at Georgetown University and CAUSE Brand Ambassador.
If you could have a beer and change the world at the same time, would you do it?
I imagine you’re wondering, “Is the sky blue? Is the Pope Catholic?” Well, I have great news: your pint of pale ale could be a pint of school supplies for a struggling student. At CAUSE, or “The PhilanthroPub,” having a fun time and doing good are one and the same.
CAUSE, recently opened in DC, is a bar and restaurant dedicated to donating all of their profits -- that’s right, 100 percent of profits -- to charity. The idea originated over nothing more appropriate than a beer when founders Nick Vilelle and Raj Ratwani were catching up at a bar. Vilelle had recently returned from the Peace Corps where he worked with underfunded grassroots organizations and Ratwani was in grad school, wishing there was an easier way for busy young people to give back. Then the idea hit them: why couldn’t all the money people spend on food and drinks simultaneously be used to create a positive impact in the world?
“We were sitting there, watching people around us having a great time with their friends and we said ‘This is it, we need to bring charity to where people already are and make it fun!’” shared Vilelle.
The CAUSE model makes giving more fun, more accessible, and more transparent. After bills and other expenses are paid, CAUSE directly donates the profits to their partnered charities. No strings attached. No fine print.
In today’s economy, people are working more and earning less -- as much as they might want to give back, it just might not be within the budget. In fact, a drink and dinner with friends may hardly be within their budget! But getting a drink and donating to charity, well that certainly sounds like an expense anyone could justify.
As a senior in college about to face the “real world” in less than five months, I often struggle to balance my drive to positively impact my community with my financial responsibilities. I want to make a difference, but let’s face it: I also need to pay off my debt. That’s why I’m so enthusiastic about the rise of social enterprise -- it means young people don’t have to choose between a paycheck and a passion, between profit and philanthropy.
As corporate responsibility programs and triple bottom lines increasingly become the norms of the business world, it seems only appropriate for citizens to begin pursuing good within their routine actions, too. CAUSE is the prime opportunity to do just that, changing the world one happy hour at a time. The PhilanthroPub shows that living and giving truly can go hand in hand. And this is only the beginning.
“Raj and I think that we could be on to something big,” said Vilelle, “We are proving the model in DC, and then hope we can take the idea to cities across the country and even around the world. As far as we are concerned, wherever people like good food and drinks is a potential spot for CAUSE and for impact.”
So, my fellow social citizens, are you thirsty for change? CAUSE has a promising pint waiting for you on the corner of 9th and U St., in Washington, DC. If you’re interested in learning more about CAUSE, visit their website at www.causedc.org or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, if you’re interested in social enterprise and want to learn more check out the Social Enterprise Alliance for more information.