1951 Coffee Company Proposal

First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
Information on the Proposed Partnership with 1951 Coffee Company—August 2015


First Pres is reviewing a proposal from 1951 Coffee Company (1951) to explore a partnership in which our College Lounge would be re-purposed to become a specialty coffee shop and refugee training program. 

Ministry Alignment: The 1951 Coffee Company concept is in alignment with the First Pres Justice Poverty Oppression and Women (JPOW) mission focus and has synergies with many other First Pres ministries. Most notably, this comes at a time when First Pres is rededicating itself to more deeply engage the UC Berkeley campus and students, and the University Ministries team is excited for all of the ways this proposed partnership could bring deeper connections with students and the University itself. As for alignment with the current mission’s focus of JPOW, our new local JPOW partnerships focus on the refugee community resettling in the East Bay. While the issues on which JPOW focuses can often feel thousands of miles away, people whose lives have been impacted by war, disease, poverty, gender discrimination, and violence are here in our own community. We are offered the opportunity to extend hospitality, friendship, our time and our talents to help these newly arrived individuals and families find community and a sense of home, all in the name of Christ. This effort is bolstered by partnerships with other First Pres ministries that would offer additional support to the refugees and their communities – conversations have already begun with Berkeley Christian Counselors and Cornerstone Children’s Center on ways their ministries could strengthen the support we offer refugees.

Facilities: The primary impact to our facilities includes the loss of the College Lounge and its kitchen, which affects First Pres programs and possibly facility rental income. Most notably, the loss of that kitchen would impact memorials, receptions, and events by rental groups. Solutions are being explored to mitigate that impact. There is also potential for increased security issues from having a public coffee shop open on our campus.

Financials: From a financial standpoint, the 1951 Coffee Company concept is planned to be net-neutral to the First Pres budget, as any funding we might provide would come from accounts already designated for these types of programs and ministries. 1951 comes to this partnership with all of the funding they need to renovate the space and begin this program. First Pres may choose to spend funds (from already designated accounts) to make minor renovations, which would provide a different kitchen solution for groups using the Calvin Room.

The Process: (Note: this document describes the planned process as it was in August, the current process is on the 1951 Coffee Company Proposal Webpage). A Town Hall meeting will take place September 6, 2015 as an opportunity for the congregation to learn more directly from 1951 Coffee Company as well as from several First Pres Berkeley ministries. After this process of listening and hearing feedback, Session will vote on whether or not to move forward with this proposed plan on September 15. From that point, the JPOW Leadership Team (including two Mission Outreach Elder Liaisons, Mindy Phillips and Vivian McIlraith) would become the oversight committee and work alongside staff (Facilities, Mission Outreach, and Pastoral) to solidify the terms of the lease and partnership agreement. The permit process is expected to take ~6 months, giving 1951 a target opening date of February or March 2015.

Concluding Thoughts: The past year and coming year are part of a new season of call and response for First Pres. Alongside conversations about our values, resources and leadership needs, we have also been thinking about ways that we can use our space to be a better neighbor to the university and city at our doorstep. The College Lounge is a space that has tremendous potential, but we have not had the expertise, funding, nor administrative resources to better utilize. The potential partnership with 1951 Coffee Company presents a number of exciting ministry possibilities for First Pres that we’re excited to explore together.

For More Information: For questions relating to this proposed partnership, please contact: Bridget Satchwell, Director of Outreach and Justice, at (510) 280-6198 or bridgets@fpcberkeley.org.

About 1951 Coffee Company and Proposed Partnership

In 1951 the United Nations put forth the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to lay out a definition and guidelines for the protection of refugees. The number of forcibly displaced people in the world soared to 60 million for the first time in 2015, with approximately 16 million receiving refugee status. Of those 16 million the U.S. Department of State has established a quota of 70,000 refugee admittances to the United States for FY2015. Refugee resettlement agencies in the northern part of the San Francisco Bay Area resettled more than 600 refugees in FY2014 with a similar quota in place.

The U.S. Department of State lists social integration and economic self-sufficiency as two main tenants of a successful refugee resettlement program. The goal of swift economic self-sufficiency is certainly noble, but often minimizes the barriers refugees face in gaining and maintaining employment. These barriers often include non-U.S. work experience, limited English language skills, limited education, and a lack of child-care. Many employers in the United States are seeking staff that require minimal training and integration into their company ecosystems. This often puts refugees at a disadvantage. Refugee employment and social integration requires an empathetic and culturally competent community to work alongside refugee resettlement agencies in creating a suitable welcome.

1951 Coffee Company is a specialty coffee organization seeking to promote the wellbeing of the refugee community in the San Francisco Bay Area by providing job training and employment to refugees while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues. There is a two-pronged approach to accomplishing these goals. First, 1951 is establishing a 2-week barista training program that will provide refugees with English language training, cultural adjustment support, customer service training, and specialty coffee barista skills training in a safe learning environment. Secondly, 1951 is planning to open a coffee shop location in the Berkeley area that will provide 12 positions for refugee employment. The goals of this employment will be to provide refugees with a safe place of employment that provides them with a living wage while helping them gain a solid foundation in U.S. work culture.

1951 Coffee Company is seeking to partner with First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley because of their strong belief that an integrated community that fully embraces refugees is required to make resettlement a success. 1951 Coffee Company will serve as a supportive bridge between the refugee, resettlement, and faith communities. It will provide a place of meaningful employment, job training, and social support. It will provide a place where the resettlement community can engage with refugee and their stories personally. At the center of this endeavor is an understanding that Christ reached out into the margins of society making it clear that in the heart of God there are no margins. More than 600 refugees will make the East Bay their home in 2015 – who better than Christ’s church to seek to provide welcome and refugee to these new neighbors? In partnering together, 1951 Coffee Company and First Pres would be able to offer a more comprehensive set of services, as well as a more robust network of neighbors and friends.

About the Founders: The founders of 1951 Coffee Company, Rachel Taber and Doug Hewitt, collectively have a wealth of experience working with refugees on employment and finance programs, as well as extensive experience in the high-end coffee shop and roasting world. Rachel holds a degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado Boulder and attends First Pres. Doug holds a Masters of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, a Masters of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Union University, and attends Regeneration Church in Oakland. Rachel and Doug recently left positions at International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Oakland – an agency that resettles 300-400 refugees per year in the East Bay.

For More Information: For questions relating to this proposed partnership, please contact: Bridget Satchwell, Director of Outreach and Justice, at (510) 280-6198 or bridgets@fpcberkeley.org.