What about your donations?

Explaining our approach to philanthropy & more spots open for Bread Club

Good morning bread friends.

First, if you’d like to order bread for Thursday pickup - I’d encourage you to go ahead and click through and do that now :)

I often describe Bread & Justice as a philanthropic enterprise. Today I’d like to explain a bit more about the logistics of how that works and why I run my business this way.

Here at Bread & Justice, each month we select a different nonprofit that we donate to. The basic rule is that Bread & Justice donates to nonprofit organizations whose work we see as advancing social justice and/or combating racism. Selecting the specific nonprofit each month simply comes down to what issues are on our (my wife and I’s) hearts at the time. I try to use this newsletter to articulate to this wonderful community why the nonprofit was on my heart that month and what it means to me to be able to support them together.

Together is the keyword, and frankly it is the heart of this whole operation. None of this happens without this Bread & Justice community. The amount that we donate each month is determined by you, by a rather simple formula - we give 100% of our profits away. In a society that is seemingly ruled by capitalism for the sake of hoarding wealth, we take inspiration from other like-minded entrepreneurs who have outlined a model for this method of doing business. One organization that is a major inspiration for Bread & Justice is a popular food business called Newman’s Own. On their website, they describe their approach like this:

We are proud of this commitment and want to be clear and unambiguous about what we mean when we say “100% of Profits to Charity.” It’s not something we just thought up to boost sales, it’s not a play on words, and one shouldn’t need an accounting degree to understand it. We have been doing it for over 35 years and have donated over $570 million to thousands of deserving organizations around the world.

In the simplest terms, when we say 100% of profits, we mean what’s left over (aka surplus, balance, difference) after normal business expenses are deducted from all the income we derive from sales from our food and beverage business. That income comes from two sources, direct sales of our products and royalties paid by both the Company and third parties we license to sell our products.

Like all businesses (commercial or nonprofit), there are normal business expenses required to operate Newman’s Own, such as employee compensation and benefits, travel, cost of goods, transportation, warehousing, marketing and advertising, supplies, occupancy costs, taxes, etc.

At Bread & Justice, our normal business expenses are currently limited to supplies, ingredients, taxes, and bakery equipment. When you buy bread from us, 100% of our profits (beyond expenses) go to the nonprofit that we are supporting that month. Simply put… this is possible because my family allows me to completely take over our kitchen a few days a week, and because I have a day job that pays my bills.

In a previous letter I shared that after all of the bread that you purchased, and all of the generous donations that were made directly to Bread & Justice on our website, we are able to donate a total of $1085 for the month of April to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

I’d like to also elaborate on what happens when you donate to Bread & Justice on our website. Earlier this year, a few customers asked if I was willing to accept donations to help me grow the business. I’ve written about my desire to grow this business slowly and intentionally, but I am not opposed to the idea of accepting donations to help save some money for expected expenses. In order to eventually increase production, a shortlist of things that I’m going to need to invest in include a dedicated oven, a proper workbench/shaping table, a dedicated proofing fridge, a cooling rack for bread, some technical baking books, etc.

So, I added a donation button on the store page (and more recently directly on the homepage). As I say on the donation page, “donations will be used to invest in expanding the business and a portion will always be shared with our nonprofit partner for the month.” So when you donate to Bread & Justice you are placing trust in us that we’re using those funds to advance the mission and the business in the best ways that we can at that time. By the way, we treat tips exactly the same way. I am insanely grateful for those who see our mission as aligning with their personal mission and choose to support us by purchasing bread or by making direct contributions.

For those who may feel inspired to help support Bread & Justice’s eventual growth, donating is a very concrete way to support us. Another concrete way to support us is to tell your friends about us :)

Share

Finally, once a month I share with this community not only how much we donated together through Bread & Justice’s profits, but also how much the community directly donated to our nonprofit partner for that month.

This is another exciting organic development. It never occurred to me to ask you to follow my lead and donate to the same organizations as me each month. Some bread friends have indicated that they appreciate learning more about various nonprofits through this newsletter, and they want to amplify this community’s generosity by donating to the same nonprofit as us each month. I am honestly floored by this trend, but I am definitely here for it. The only way that I know about these donations is because the donor writes in to show us a receipt telling us that they matched our donation for the month. With their permission, I’m always glad to share those donations with this you.

For instance, in the month of April there were three donations to the NAACP that were shared with me.

  • Rebecca Ryan gave $200

  • Gracie & Andrew Foxwell gave $1085

  • Britt & Adam Ryan gave $1085

Adding these to the $1085 in profits that this community gave through Bread & Justice, our community gave a total of $3,455 to the NAACP. This feels incredible. I’m really proud to be a part of a community that exhibits such generosity and intentionality.

Accepting June Bread Club members

Finally, if you know that you’d like to get bread each week, you might be interested in joining Bread Club. Bread Club is a monthly subscription to guarantee yourself sourdough every Tuesday of each month. This week we opening up for the month of June. If you’d like to join Bread Club, or if you have any questions about it - please just reply to this email and let me know!

Cheers,
Your humble baker
Mo Cheeks