Articles by Month: October 2016
The History of Coffee
According to the National Coffee Association, coffee has a complex history with no clear understanding of its exact origin. An Ethiopian legend says that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the potential of coffee beans in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. “By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.” This resulted in the creation of public coffee houses.
The Coffee House
Coffee houses were started as a space for collaboration and conversation. Originally called qahveh khaneh, coffee houses began to appear in cities across the Near East. “Coffee houses quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that they were often referred to as ‘Schools of the Wise.’ Coffee houses were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland.”
One of our favorite TED Talks, Steven Johnson’s “Where good ideas come from,” says that coffee houses were a place where people would gather to share and discuss ideas. Many great inventions have coffee houses to thank as the place of origin for some of their early ideas.
We at Prosper like to think of our office as a coffee house. It’s a place where we come every day to collaborate with one another, with our clients, and with others in the community. We share ideas, brainstorm solutions and invent creative strategies. Thus, we thought it was important to have our own stock of delicious, invigorating coffee.
Our Crafted Coffee
As deep as our devotion to coffee is, we recently realized we still have a few things to learn. Did you know that the lighter the coffee the stronger it is? A few weeks ago we had a coffee tasting at our office to sample all of Heartwood Coffee Roastery’s heavenly varieties. Co-Founder Nick Edmundson broke the news that our beloved dark coffee is nothing more than burnt beans that have been overly roasted. Lighter blends here we come!
We asked Heartwood to create a special Prosper blend for us and voilà – Purpose Fuel was born. Co-Founder Jim Sanders told us a few more details about our new coffee:
“The Prosper for Purpose coffee is a Single-Origin coffee, meaning it comes from one single country, from several really great farms in Colombia actually. Purpose Fuel is roasted a little darker to bring out some really nice chocolaty notes and a great smooth body. The coffee itself is from a small group of producers in the Tolima and Huila regions of Colombia and is selected because of each farmer’s commitment to high quality hand-picked coffee. It’s really cool to see that these producers get rewarded for their insistence on only the finest crops. We, of course, are the beneficiaries of their hard work!”
We invite you to stop by our coffee house any time! Conversation and coffee are our fuel and we’d love to share them with you.
Prosper for Purpose Launches 12 Months of Giving Program
Northeast Ohio Nonprofits Invited to Apply for Free Services
CLEVELAND (Oct. 19, 2016)—Prosper for Purpose, a Cleveland-based communications and development firm, today announced the launch of its new 12 Months of Giving campaign. The program focuses on providing local nonprofit organizations with in-kind donations, as well as marketing and public relations services at no cost to the organization.
Throughout 2017, Prosper for Purpose will select one Northeast Ohio nonprofit organization each month for which they will raise awareness and donations throughout that month. In addition, selected organizations will receive three hours of consulting from Prosper for Purpose free of charge.
“We are a purpose-built organization devoted to doing well by doing good. And there’s no better place to make a difference than in our own backyard,” said Founder and CEO Lorraine Schuchart. “We want to elevate awareness of charities and organizations in the Cleveland area because when they prosper our communities succeed.”
Initiating the 12 Months of Giving campaign is yet another way Prosper for Purpose honors its commitment to using business as a force for good. In early 2016, Prosper for Purpose became the first marketing and communications agency in Greater Cleveland, and the first nonprofit consulting and fundraising agency in Ohio, to receive B Corp certification. More recently, Prosper for Purpose became a member of 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate 1% of annual sales to support nonprofit organizations focused on the environment and to help the organization recruit new members.
Northeast Ohio nonprofits are encouraged to apply for the 12 Months of Giving program online at prosperforpurpose.com/12-months-giving. The deadline to apply is December 9.
About Prosper for Purpose
Prosper for Purpose is a strategic public relations firm that helps purpose-driven organizations maximize their impact by building mutually beneficial relationships with their publics. The agency develops brands and optimizes relationships for growth and positive social impact. Prosper for Purpose is proud to be a Certified B Corporation, meeting the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. For more information, visit www.prosperforpurpose.com.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve explained the Prosper for Purpose approach to business. I have written about the first three components of our quadruple bottom line: people, planet and prosperity. This week, I conclude our four-part blog series discussing how we #measurewhatmatters by focusing on purpose.
“Why did you start your own company?” is the question I’m most often asked. “What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?” is a close second. You would think by now I would have a simple answer to those different ways of asking the same essential question: “What was the motivation that created Prosper for Purpose?” As I approach the end of my company’s fourth year, I think I can finally answer that question. But the answer is not so simple.
I didn’t become an entrepreneur because I wanted to start a business. I became an entrepreneur because I want to make positive impact, and believed starting my own business could be my pathway.
Throughout my career, I had chosen positions in the nonprofit sector, followed by the for-profit sector and then back again. The missions and (most of the time) the cultures of the nonprofits resonated with me, while the ability to quickly put ideas into action in the corporate world also appealed to me.
And then, one day, my daughter asked, “Why don’t you start the company you want to work for?” It was the right time for that question. I was extremely unhappy in my job. For the first time in my 25-year career, I had neither a healthy culture nor the ability to put ideas into action. And I wondered, “What if I could have both?”
I spent two months planning Prosper for Purpose before it launched. I had never really been interested in becoming an entrepreneur, and I certainly didn’t know how to run a business. But I did have a purpose. I wanted to do well by doing good. And by naming my company Prosper for Purpose, I made a declaration.
I consider myself an activist at heart. I care about social justice and human rights; preserving our planet and protecting animals; securing various types of sustainability. Those concerns were top of mind when I started my company.
Siiri Morley, a founding partner of Prosperity Candle, wrote about achieving ‘social good’ impact. She said that “Business can create this type of impact, but it doesn’t do so naturally. Businesses need to be purposefully designed to consider their social and environmental impact as a key priority.” That is what I sought to do, and what I and the other members of #TeamProsper commit to continue.
In 2012, when I was planning Prosper for Purpose, there wasn’t a lot of public discussion about purpose. Now the word seems to be everywhere. And while I certainly encourage and applaud those who authentically pursue the principles of purpose, I wanted to take extra steps to differentiate my company from the others who might see purpose as nothing more than the latest trend to grab onto.
In January, Prosper became a Certified B Corporation. Last month, we joined One Percent for the Planet. We’re proud to make these commitments to be both socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. Joining these organizations not only helps validate our claims of prioritizing people, planet and prosperity, but it connects us to communities of like-minded business leaders. A community committed to using business as a force for good.
Running a business that measures impact in these ways is not easy. But it is important. And that is why we #measurewhatmatters.
So why did I start Prosper for Purpose? To build a company that could do well by doing good. Perhaps the answer is simple after all.
How we help our people, our clients and our company prosper
Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing how we #measurewhatmatters at Prosper for Purpose. I’ve referenced our quadruple bottom line as people, planet, prosperity and purpose. This week, I write about prosperity.
I chose the word prosperity rather than profit, the term used by most other organizations, because profit is only one part of prosperity. At Prosper, we view the notion of prosperity as inclusive of health, happiness and economic stability—in other words, general well-being. Why? Because an economic-focused view of prosperity will inevitably compete with health and happiness.
Causal effects between economic prosperity, health and happiness have been studied and documented. One famous study that advances the holistic definition of prosperity to which we at Prosper subscribe is the Legatum Prosperity Index, an annual ranking of 142 countries, developed by the Legatum Institute. The ranking is based on a variety of factors including wealth, economic growth, education, health, personal well-being, and quality of life.
Surveys have shown that increases in income do not lead to increases in happiness.
For example, moving up the corporate ladder may lead to an increase in economic prosperity, but the longer hours spent working may encroach upon time formerly devoted to exercise and family. In this way, economic prosperity is potentially achieved at the expense of health and happiness. That is not the kind of prosperity we want (does anyone?).
To ensure Prosper supports our team’s prosperity, each employee completed a personal development plan (PDP) this summer. The leadership team then reviewed the PDPs with each employee and made a commitment and a plan to move them forward.
Because we also care about the prosperity of our clients, we measure that too. From our kick-off session through planning, ideation and implementation, we tie our milestones and measurables to the overarching goals of the organization. In other words, we’re not happy unless our clients are successful. We work by choice with purpose-driven clients in both the business and nonprofit sectors. This means that when our clients do well, their communities prosper.
Finally, we care about the prosperity of our company. We do well by doing good. And the more we prosper, the more good we can do.
Want to help us #domoregood? Then tell your favorite Northeast Ohio charity about our new program, the 12 Months of Giving.