The year-long project will support a series of good causes through the proceeds from coffee-gift bundles.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Equator Coffees
Equator Coffees’ longtime status as a Certified B-Corporation is evident in their regular support of nonprofits, “chain of well-being,” and overall mission to use business as a force for good. The Bay Area-based coffee roaster continues that mission this time around with the B’Cause Artist Series Blend, a project that will formalize their ongoing efforts to donate to good causes through coffee sales.
Since early 2020, Equator has been donating a small portion of sales from retail bags to local nonprofits through the B’Cause Blend, a play on words reflecting the company’s status as a B-Corp. However, as the project progressed, they realized they wanted to extend the act of giving even further. “As the company has grown and evolved, we decided the biggest thing we wanted is to maximize our impact and work with a lot of different partners, and so that’s really what B’Cause grew out of,” explains Elan Lieber, manager of partnerships & analytics at Equator. And so, the B’Cause Artist Series will be a bigger effort to donate even more money at a time to good causes, while also working with local and national artists to do this.
The B’Cause Artist Series features a boxed bundle that consists of the B’Cause coffee blend, an artist-branded MiiR mug, and an exclusive print by that same artist. For this round, Equator creative director Nate Fong chose to partner with George McCalman, an artist Nate excitedly describes as “legendary,” who contributed a letterhead of font for the design that reads “Giving Feels Good.” Equator and George worked with Joel Benson of Dependable Letterpress to bring the design to life. Similar to the B’Cause Blend on its own, which typically donates $1-3 USD to a nonprofit at a time, this bundle will contribute $10 USD of every sale to a beneficiary, which consists of a $5 donation from Equator and $5 donations from MiiR. “I appreciate that Equator Coffees began this journey of their B’Cause endeavor to support and emphasize charities who are working hard on the ground floor of change and social justice,” says George.
The beneficiary of the series will rotate, but for the first round of design, the Young Women’s Freedom Center will receive a portion of the sales. Many causes that support women’s advancement speak to founders Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell, so this West Coast-based nonprofit made the most sense to be the kickoff beneficiary for this month. Additionally, the artists had a hand in selecting suitable nonprofits to partner with. “We went through the artists to find out what they’re most passionate about,” explains Elan. “George spent a lot of time looking at different nonprofits and he brought three different ones to us, and we chose the one we felt the most impactful.”
The Young Women’s Freedom Center works out of California to “empower and inspire cis and trans young women, trans young men, and gender-expansive young people who have been disproportionately impacted by incarceration, racist and sexist policies, the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and/or the underground street economy, to create positive change in their lives and communities.” To do this, YWFC depends on leadership development, legislative action, and community organizing to liberate women from the systemic inequalities that hold them back from advancement.
“It’s a lot more than just getting jobs, which is important, you know, economic empowerment. You gotta start there. But how do we get these young women involved in local politics? And issues that are affecting their communities? Because their communities are not listened to often. I think they’re thrilling, what they do,” says Devorah Freudiger, Equator director of coffee culture.
The B’Cause Blend Bundle is available here.