First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
Consideration of New Mission Partnership with 1951 Coffee Company
Statement of Potential Impacts—August 2015
First Pres is reviewing a proposal from 1951 Coffee Company (1951) to explore a partnership in which we would re-purpose our College Lounge to become a specialty coffee shop and refugee training program. As First Pres leadership explores this partnership, it is important to examine opportunities and impacts. This report is prepared for Session to have sufficient information to be able to approve moving forward with the 1951 Coffee Company concept, including an overview of the project; as well as potential impact on First Pres ministries, facilities, and finances. In addition, this report can be an introduction for interested congregants to learn more.
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. At the same time, there are ministry trade-offs to consider as well. Primary impact on our facilities includes: loss of the College Lounge kitchen which impacts First Pres programs and facility rental income; and potential security concerns and related costs. From a financial standpoint, the 1951 Coffee Company concept is planned to be net-neutral to the First Pres budget (and as we’re in concept phase, final costs have not yet been calculated).
The process moving forward is for Session to vote at their August 17 meeting, on whether or not First Pres should proceed and further explore leasing the College Lounge to 1951. If affirmed, the partnership proposal would be shared with the congregation, including an invitation for feedback and conversation. A final vote would take place at the September 15 Session meeting. From that point on, the Missional Engagement Leadership Team (formerly JPOW Leadership Team with the addition of two Elder Liaisons) would become the oversight committee and work alongside staff (Facilities, Mission Outreach and Pastoral) to solidify the terms of the lease and partnership agreement. 1951 would begin the permitting process for potential construction renovation as soon as Session affirms the concept at their August 17 meeting. The permitting process typically takes six to eight months, and construction would likely begin late in the fall, with the target opening date for the coffee shop in February or March 2016.
For questions relating to this proposed partnership, please contact: Bridget Satchwell, Director of Outreach and Justice, at (510) 280-6198 or email@example.com.
Overview: An Opportunity to Help Refugees in Alignment with Our Mission and Resources
In late May of 2015, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley (First Pres) and newly forming 1951 Coffee Company (1951) began exploring a possible partnership, the primary aspect of which would be to lease the First Pres College Lounge to 1951 to open a fully functioning, 7-day-a-week specialty coffee shop and refugee training program.
Why 1951? 1951 Coffee Company is a non-profit [currently in the process of securing 501(c)(3) status] dedicated to helping refugee and asylees overcome the unique barriers they face in seeking, attaining, and sustaining employment upon their arrival in the United States. The founders, 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.
Why Refugee Resettlement and Coffee? At IRC, Rachel and Doug got a first-hand view of the limited employment options and overwhelming financial odds refugees face when they first arrive in the Bay Area. Their desire is to create an organization to provide refugees with training and skills in an industry that is higher paying than the average minimum wage jobs open to refugees. Wages for high-end coffee shop workers in the Bay Area are approximately $18/hour including tips as compared to the more typical $10-12.25/hour jobs available to refugees in Berkeley and Oakland. Moreover, refugees have unique needs when training for a customer service position – language skills, cultural norms, and workplace policies often pose additional challenges. As a result they often need longer and more comprehensive training compared to American-born employees.
Why First Pres? While 1951 will strive to provide refugees with job skills and placement through a functioning coffee shop and training facilities, they are also aware of the unique needs refugees may have, and additional barriers they often face, as they adjust to life in a new country. In addition to the physical space we could offer, a partnership with a church like First Pres could also immediately enhance the refugees’ community and network – something most refugees have lost in the process of fleeing their home country. In keeping with our JPOW focus, our commitment might also include additional financial support for programs either through reduced rent or designated funds from lease income to further develop ministry and provide assistance to refugees. Numerous opportunities for collaboration with other First Pres ministries exist and could provide valuable resources for refugees.
Ministry Impact: Synergies for Outreach
Here are some examples of the areas of potential ministry collaboration and expansion, followed by some ministry trade-offs.
Opening Our Doors to Students and the Community. This proposed partnership has the potential to bring together a number of First Pres passions, ministries, and resources. The College Lounge is the most public facing space in First Pres’ newest building, Geneva Hall. There have been conversations over the years about how to use that space in a way that would be a connecting point with UC Berkeley students and become a “front-porch” of sorts to our church. A coffee shop concept was explored in the past, and while our location is ideal (just blocks from campus, surrounded by dorms, limited competition in the high-end coffee shop market), the start-up funding and management needed to start and operate a coffee shop was prohibitive for the church to do on its own. 1951 comes with start-up funding in place, and does not need First Pres funding in order to launch (see the Financial Impact section of this report).
Aligning with University Ministry. The University Ministry team is enthusiastic about the 1951 concept, and is already exploring ways to collaborate for study hall, welcome week and other creative ideas. Further, University Ministry is exploring student internships in which a Fellowship of College and University Students (FoCUS) intern could be trained to help refugees navigate processes like signing up for healthcare, getting their children enrolled in school and other necessary social service on-ramps. Another point of interest is ways in which this could further connect University ministries to the UC Berkeley campus. Currently at Cal, the number one minor is Global Poverty and Practice. Issues of social justice are something that has captured the attention of a diverse cross-section of the campus, and a coffee shop that educates about and employees refugees just blocks from campus has the potential to create additional connections and opportunities for ministry for the University Ministries team.
The University Ministries’ use of the College Lounge has been primarily for occasional events such as study hall around finals week, and last fall it was used for Wednesday evening FoCUS gatherings. In the Spring FoCUS moved their meeting to the 242 house. Once the coffee shop opens, the College Lounge would no longer be available for weekly events (currently there are none), it would however continue to be available for seasonal events like study hall and move-in Sunday, in partnership with 1951. In addition, at least two Friday evenings per month would be set-aside for First Pres and/or the University ministry to hold community events. Initial ideas include talks by authors, spoken word poetry, open mic music nights and other similar opportunities.
Supporting Mission Outreach and JPOW. In addition, the component of adding in a job-training program for refugees aligns with the current focus of our local partnerships in the Mission Outreach department. 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. Through our new JPOW partners, Oakland International High School, Refugee Transitions, the International Rescue Committee, and La Clinica’s TechniClinic, 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. Partnering with 1951 further extends that opportunity, recognizing not just the unique needs refugees have around finding employment, but looking at the whole person and helping to address all of the barriers that would keep them from thriving upon arrival in the United States. In the process, we are also invited to be transformed, to gain new friendships, and to participate with Christ in his work in the world.
Accessing Berkeley Christian Counselors (BCC). BCC is First Pres’ onsite counseling center with expertise in trauma, abuse, marital problems, as well as other issues refugee and their families face when resettling in a new country. They could be available to offer individual or group therapy to refugees in the program who need help as they process their experiences. In addition, BCC’s Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are well connected to other resources in the East Bay that refugees may need (including legal aid, housing help, etc.).
Providing Another Form of Training at Cornerstone Children’s Center. Cornerstone has offered to help start an employee-run childcare co-op for the 1951 employees. Often refugees are single-income families because parents cannot find childcare that doesn’t cost more than the mother’s take-home pay if she were to work. While Cornerstone is often at its enrollment capacity, their staff was enthusiastic about the idea of helping to start a childcare co-op for the employees of 1951 (for children ages 2 years to Kindergarten entry). Parents would volunteer one-day a week in the co-op and the other days would have access to free, safe, licensed childcare. In addition, if any of the parents become interested in a career in childcare, Cornerstone would observe them in the co-op and see if they might be a good fit to be an aide or teacher at Cornerstone, creating additional job opportunities for refugees. This project would involve the cost of hiring a licensed director to oversee the co-op. Potential funds to cover this could come from the rent 1951 would pay.
Knowing Ministry Trade-offs. Ministries that use the College Lounge would be impacted by this change, however greater impact is on those that use the College Lounge Kitchen for events in the neighboring Calvin Room. The primary impact is on memorials and the Deacons that serve that ministry, because of the required kitchen use. There were seven memorials held in the Calvin Room in 2014, and three thus far in 2015. Many annual events that typically use the Calvin Room would also be affected, e.g., the Mother/Daughter Tea, as well as occasional events like staff farewells, etc. These events require kitchen use, and could be held in other rooms on campus. For ministries that currently meet in the College Lounge – FoCUS, Young Adults First Wednesdays, Connect(her), and Veritas – the space would no longer be available, but these are more easily moved to other spaces on campus as their events are not dependent on the use of the College Lounge specific space, nor its kitchen.
Facilities Impact: Room Use & Rental Income, Kitchen vs. Kitchenette, and Security
The impact of leasing the College Lounge to 1951, and the loss of that space for church and rental use would have a number of impacts.
Reducing Room Rental Dependent on Kitchen Use. The loss of the College Lounge Kitchen in particular would be felt acutely by those who put on First Pres events in the Calvin room that require coffee and/or food set-up and clean-up. As mentioned in the “Knowing Ministry Trade-offs” section, the greatest concern is for memorials and the impact it would on the Deacons and involved staff.
There are outside groups that rent the Calvin Room and College Lounge Kitchen together. Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church uses the space annually for their retreat. The Rosetta Institute is a bio-medical group that needs access to water and tile floors for the classes they give. Other groups choose that space for its ambiance and kitchen access. While many of those groups could shift to renting G202, this will create more traffic to that already busy room and kitchen. Some may choose to look elsewhere for alternative space, either because the space is not available or it’s not right for their needs, leading to a loss of First Pres rental income. For more detail on rentals and income, see Appendix A.
Exploring a Kitchenette Solution. A proposed solution for easing the loss of the College Lounge Kitchen for events in the Calvin Room is converting one of the closets into a small kitchenette. One of the closets already has running water (a maintenance floor sink) and could be converted to a small kitchen space. A sink, some counter space and the ability to make coffee and clean-up from events could cover the needs of many events taking place in the Calvin Room.
Managing Security. In addition to the impact to space, a 7-day-a-week coffee shop will increase the number of visitors to our already very public space, and therefore has the potential to create some additional security concerns. The facilities team already deals with individuals who wander up to the second or third floor of Geneva, and encounter mentally unstable individuals who cause disturbances, at times needing police intervention. An increase in this kind of activity could impact in the following ways:
There is no way to anticipate ahead of time exactly how this will impact the security of the First Pres campus, but if there is a significant up-tick in these types of activities, the facilities team would need additional resources to address the issues.
The plan to mitigate some of the traffic through campus, is for 1951 Coffee Company to pay to have a bathroom installed in the cutout nook in the College Lounge. This space shares a wall with the first floor men’s restroom and therefore would not be to cost prohibitive to do so. This would allow for the coffee shop to be totally self-contained, alleviating some (but not all) of the security concerns.
Financial Impact: A Net-Neutral Proposal
The financial costs of a First Pres partnership with 1951 would be neutral or very low. Potential costs like the loss of Calvin Room rental income, and creating a kitchenette, could be offset by rental income paid by 1951 for use of the space. Even discounted rent would still provide a steady stream of funds each month, some of which could cover incurred costs and some could go back towards programs benefitting the refugees. In addition, existing Mission Department funds could also be used to cover project costs, to minimize impact on the First Pres General Fund budget.
1951’s Resources. 1951 Coffee Company comes to this partnership with all of the financial resources they need to start the coffee shop and training program. This includes funds to cover renovation costs to convert the College Lounge into a fully functioning coffee shop, adding additional sound-proofing between the College Lounge and Calvin Room, installing a bathroom as well as the funding necessary to cover the start-up costs of operating the coffee shop. A more detailed version of their business plan was presented to a group of First Pres stakeholders (a mix of session members, JPOW team members, staff, and congregants) on June 29, 2015. The 1951 Coffee Company will carry insurance for liability, workers comp, and directors and officers. The insurance policy First Pres currently carries would provide sufficient coverage and protection for First Pres. No additional policies would be needed for the church.
First Pres Projected Room Rental Loss. As mentioned above, the loss of the College Lounge kitchen could impact rental income generated by the joint rental of the Calvin Room and College Lounge kitchen. Rental income for that joint space was $6,950 in 2014, and $15,200 in year to date in 2015. This year’s significant increase is due to the $7,200 rental by the Rosetta Institute. Room rental income is applied to the Facilities budget for maintenance and other facilities-related costs, and rental income surplus is applied to the General Fund at the end of each year.
First Pres Potential Renovation Expenses. The idea to add a kitchenette (via converting a closet) would incur costs. Potential First Pres expenses could include an architect for design, permit/s and labor to do the work, and materials. Cabinets being removed from the College Lounge Kitchen during 1951’s renovation could be used in the kitchenette to save funds. If some of the labor was provided by skilled individuals in the congregation willing to volunteer their time, this could be another area of cost-saving. Even with donated labor, repurposed cabinets and minimal plumbing work needed, there would still be a cost to the kitchenette project, which would challenge the desire to be budget neutral. To that point, there are some existing funding sources that could be used to cover the costs of the project, if approved. The Mission Department has $20,000 per year for 2015-2017 set aside under the JPOW fund specifically for programs benefitting refugees and the displaced. These funds are not yet designated for a particular program or project and could be used to cover the cost of helping this program launch. There are additional funds in a JPOW designated account that could be used to cover costs related to the launching of 1951. The use of these funds would need to be approved by the Mission Outreach department and its Elders.
First Pres Restoration Clause. Lastly, since substantial renovations to the College Lounge kitchen will be made, First Pres may decide to include a “restoration clause” in the lease agreement with 1951. This would mean that 1951 would agree to cover the cost of the space being restored to having a functioning kitchen should they choose to vacate the space at any point. First Pres would carry the risk that if 1951 leaves the space due to insufficient funds, there likely won’t be the funding to cover that restoration. One possible solution for this is that a percentage of any rental income 1951 pays the church could be set aside to cover restoration costs in the future.
The potential partnership with 1951 presents a number of exciting ministry possibilities for First Pres, but does come with some trade-offs related to the impacts to other ministries by giving up the College Lounge and its kitchen to this work. If Session decides to move forward, careful coordination and planning will be critical to minimizing the impact felt by other First Pres ministries. If ultimately the decision is not to enter into this partnership, we hope this will prompt a larger conversation about the use of the First Pres campus and other ways we might better utilize our space for Mission Outreach. While compelling cases can be made for moving forward or choosing not to, it’s ultimately up to the session of First Pres to discern what God is calling us to in this season, continuing to hold the reminder in Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God…”
College Lounge, Calvin Room and College Lounge Kitchen Usage
*Indicates needed use of College Lounge Kitchen in addition to use of Calvin Room or College Lounge