eChievement Award Spotlight – FoCo Cafe (Pay-What-You-Can Cafe)

eChievement Award - Kathleen Baumgardner - FoCo Cafe

Sometimes the best ideas are hatched while sharing a local beer with friends. A discussion of the amazing work being done by local nonprofits led FoCo Cafe’s cofounder Jeff to mention that he thought nonprofit cafes should exist. Kathleen replied that she had recently seen a news story about one in Denver – SAME Café.

At the time this discussion took place, Jeff was teaching and had a background in medicine and agricultural/food research and a passion for cooking. Kathleen was a director of communications at Colorado State, managing print, web, social media, and outreach efforts for a college. Jeff and Kathleen wanted to combine experiences and passions into a setting that offered amazing food, a commitment to service, and a place where building community for all is at its center.

And so it began…an e-mail to SAME Café led to volunteering at that cafe within a week, which then led both Jeff and Kathleen to begin researching the need in Fort Collins. They began setting meetings with anyone and everyone in town. The overwhelmingly positive response pushed them forward.

Only months later, Jeff and Kathleen found their garage full of donated kitchen equipment and cafe chairs; boxes of dishes would appear on their front porch; e-mails came in from many people eager to volunteer; college students began working on key projects; professionals were offering valuable services at no cost; and the cafe became a reality, opening on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.

FoCo Cafe - eTown

FoCo Cafe’s mission is to build community by providing nutritious and delicious meals to the people of Fort Collins regardless of their ability to pay while using mostly local, organic, and sustainably grown ingredients.

FoCo Cafe is the first nonprofit restaurant in Fort Collins. Cafe patrons set the price for cafe cuisine in this pay-what-you-can setting. Instead of a cash register, a donation box is on the counter. If you can give more, pay it forward. If you have a little less, pay what you can. If your pockets are empty, participate in community with your time and talent in exchange for a mouth-watering meal. Daily menu selections are made primarily using fresh, locally grown ingredients, and funded by the donations of patrons donating for their meals.

It is the intent of the FoCo Cafe to build a healthy community, and they have built their concept on the following values:

• Every human innately has dignity and should be treated as such.
• Every duty, volunteer or otherwise, has value.
• Participating in a community nourishes the soul.
• Everyone deserves to eat nutritional food.
• All people need a hand up at some point(s) in their lives.

You may also arrange an early or late afternoon meeting at FoCo Cafe. It’s an excellent venue for those looking to enjoy an intimate atmosphere with a unique mission.

Contact Information

Address: 225 Maple St., Fort Collins, Colorado
Phone: (303)-368-1659