Their beans sprout new beginnings for numerous charitable organizations. Under Grounds, a coffeehouse located beneath Santa Clarita’s Real Life Church, has developed and expanded a new form of charity.
With every fresh brewed cup of coffee, full time volunteers create numerous caffeinated concoctions at a price of zero dollars—customers can decide the value of their drink and place that amount as a donation.
Ten percent of each charitable contribution is collected at the end of each month and distributed to local nonprofit organizations. The rest of the collected amount is handed over to organizations such as Children of The Nations in Uganda and G.O Ministries where orphanages and ministries are given the chance to grow and expand.
The creator of these caffeinated blends is Kelly Boek. The former Starbucks employee now finds herself as the full-time manger for Under Grounds.
According to Boek, the inspiration for this underground home began with a love for the community and a hankering for caffeine. It was the Leaders from Real Life Church who discovered the idea when visiting a chapel in Seattle.
In the beginning the talented coffee artist was hesitant about the idea of joining in with her fellow RLC leaders. “Who would make money,” said Boek rationalizing the idea.
But after humbling herself to the idea of supporting the local and global communities, Boek began to volunteer her time toward the building of Under Grounds, meantime, continuing to work full time at her position at Starbucks.
“Slowly I was convinced that it would work out. I understood that it was better because it’s not about us making money as a business, it’s about doing good.”
Today portraits of Uganda’s youth hang on every wall of the coffee cavern, reminding customers, and volunteers, of the cause their contributions aid.
Gabe Rivas, a volunteer with a year’s worth of service with Under Grounds, said his contributions have been most rewarding.
“It feels great to be able to participate in something where we’re helping people in Africa, and other non-profit organizations.”
Under Grounds has recently undergone a renovation where new equipment was installed, changing the regular routine of French Press drips, iced tea, to advanced products that provide an even better quality cup of coffee. Since January 2011, the small café has tripled in size.
“We get about as busy as a Coffee Bean,” said Boek plainly.
The Under Grounds has grown from a fifty dollar-a-day revenue business, to a bustling coffee house. With this growth came more opportunities. In addition to coffee and Wi-Fi, the stylish coffee house has specialized in a five-day calendar of community-based events. Tuesday and Thursdays Story time, Free Lunch Wednesdays, and Friday’s Open Mic Nights. Hundreds of coffee lovers continue to pour in weekly; come Sunday thousands shuffle in.
Not only have the donations toward each cup of coffee aided charitable organizations, but also those making a living from the coffee bean. Land of a Thousand Hills—a company with a passion for supporting the Rwanda people in their quest for restoration—provides a living wage for those farming in Rwanda and Haiti through each brewed cup of coffee they distribute.
In partnering with coffee companies such as Land of a Thousand Hills, Under Grounds has become a major commodity for those global communities in need of a helping hand.
“It’s really what you want a place to do. Rather than just supporting a corporation, I am supporting the people (farmers) who make the coffee,” noted Keanan Marble Assistant Manager.
With help from their Partners such at Land of a Thousand Hills, the Under Grounds coffee house has acquired a motto that will forever remain.
“Drink coffee, do good!”