Is it feasible to live out your dream by creating a space where people can drink, eat and support a charitable cause? Nick and Raj are doing just that—they started Cause a bar and restaurant, where 100% of profits go to charity. They have created the concept of a “PhilanthroPub” for the sole reason of supporting charitable organizations donating the profits and by raising awareness of the great work these organizations are doing
How this idea started
Nick and Raj met at George Mason University in 2002 and in 2006, they discussed the idea that eventually became CAUSE. Raj was working on his PhD and had been feeling like between his educational and career goals he had no time left to get involved in charity and projects that give back. He came from a behavioral psychology background and was looking for a way to integrate charitable giving into our everyday lives and thought that a bar and restaurant would be a great solution. Nick had just completed his Peace Corps service in Togo, West Africa and had seen that there were a lot of great organizations operating on the grassroots level. With funding so difficult for these charities, Nick wanted to find a new way to share their stories and provide them with additional funds so that they could help more people.
Taking the plunge
They first surrounded themselves with professionals with years of restaurant experience who could guide them in the right direction. They also needed a way to fund their dream and used a “crowd sourcing” model to help build CAUSE. The crowdfunding campaign raised over $25,000, from over 200 individuals in 15 countries. This was a great way to get the word out about Cause and they were able to recruit a lawyer, graphic designer, editor, and local artists who volunteered their time to make CAUSE what it is today. In addition, they used an impact investment model and purchased a 2,500 sq/ft property in May 2012.
Nick and Raj see CAUSE Washington DC as a pilot site and hope to take this model around the world, creating impact in this unique fun manner. Their dream is to provide sustainable funding for grassroots organizations simply by having people eat and drink at the PhilanthroPub.
What advice would they give others who want to achieve a similar dream?
Going after a dream requires a lot of sacrifices, personally and professionally. If you aren’t ready to make those, then you aren’t ready to start.
Photos by: Neal Piper