While coffee-behemoth Starbucks continues to stir some people within the disability community with their plans to abolish plastic drinking straws by 2020, one company is using coffee to advance the lives of individuals living with disabilities. Metropolis Coffee Company and Aspire have created a robust business and social enterprise called Aspire CoffeeWorks.
The partnership, formed in 2009, pairs members of Aspire’s CoffeeWorks team, adults with disabilities, and the employees of the Metropolis Coffee Company. Aspire is a nonprofit organization that provides services to children and adults living with disabilities. In addition to the CoffeeWorks program, some of the organization’s other programs include Aspire Living, Aspire Kids, and Aspire Careers. 100 percent of net proceeds from Aspire CoffeeWorks is applied to one of Aspire’s myriad of programs for individuals with disabilities.
Metropolis Coffee Company, an artisan coffee company located in Chicago, Illinois, opened for business in 2003. The partnership between Metropolis Coffee Company and Aspire CoffeeWorks is just one of several efforts by the company to give back to the community. Metro Coffee Company strives to enhance the lives of those within the community by cultivating partnerships and programs, similar to Aspire CoffeeWorks. Metro Coffee Company works with Care For Real, an agency that offers food and clothing distribution, as well as counseling services. A Safe Haven, a nonprofit organization that offers programs for individuals transitioning from homelessness.
Aspire has a team of over 250 people to help provide social services to its more than 900 participants. Many of the individuals Aspire serves have autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, as well as other disabilities. Aspire is also supported by several corporations, like Google, FedEx Express, Walgreen’s, and Uber.
Aspire’s efforts to enhance people’s lives has produced a labor of love with CoffeeWorks. The partnership with Metropolis Coffee Company has resulted in some of the finest, nationally recognized coffees. Metropolis Coffee Company has received several accolades for its coffee blends, one of which was being named micro-roaster of the year by Roast Magazine.
Each bag of coffee is roasted to order and is organically certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association. The coffees are also certified by the Free Trade, which helps ensure that coffee roasters are offered a low floor price and a social premium. This certification helps keep production costs down to maximize proceeds to social and economic programs, like Aspire CoffeeWorks.
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