Across the street from the Logan Square Public Library sits Sip of Hope, a coffee shop committed to mental health education and proactive suicide prevention. All of the proceeds from the coffee shop go back into Hope of the Day’s work. This is an experimental funding structure unique from the traditional non-profit funding model which relies mainly on donations and grants. The Sip of Hope coffee blend served in the store is part of a partnership with Dark Matter Coffee. According to Brad Bacci, who has been working there as a barista since they first opened in May 2018, this business model is doing well.
“As of now, I’m happy to report that we’re doing as well as we possibly could be. We have already exceeded our trajectory. We’re gonna be here,” Bacci said. “Essentially we are making enough to keep our place running and we can inject money back into the non profit — that’s super exciting!”
There is a hope that the success of this model could encourage business owners and non profit founders to merge mission and capital.
“It’s a structure that could work moving forward to stem the tides of change,” Bacci said. “If other people see that consumers are willing to buy into something that creates social change from the things they’re buying, that’s how new economic trends begin. And we want to be a part of that as well.
For first-time customer Morgan Duerr, the shop’s mission made her feel better about the money she was spending there, because it was a contribution to the local community.
“I feel like if you can enjoy a cup of coffee as well as give back to a community, that’s even more of a reason. It makes me feel good about spending $5 on a cup of coffee,” Duerr said.
For Duerr, it was a unique feeling compared to getting her caffeine fix at a chain restaurant.
“I definitely don’t get that when I’m going to Starbucks,” she said.
Next door is a chiropractor’s office called Northwest Chiropractix run by Rehan Siddiqui. Even though he is not a coffee drinker, Siddiqui has heard good things from his staff and his patients about Sip of Hope and is aware of their mission. He believes they hold an important role in the neighborhood.
“I know that they serve great coffee, I know that they’re really friendly, and I think it’s really good for the community,” Siddiqui said.
Sip of Hope is also intended to exist as a space in the community where resources are available and people listen. Bacci sees it as his job not only to make lattes and sell pastries, but to engage in conversation with customers and be an open ear. Whether the conversations are light or heavy, they all matter to Bacci in his work.
“We don’t believe there’s a hierarchy to people’s needs. So if you just stubbed your toe this morning, I want to talk to you just as much as the next person,” Bacci said. “It would be exhausting, not just to us but to the customers, if every day we talked about really crazy deep things, but the option is always there.”
Sip of Hope is located at 3039 W Fullerton Ave in Chicago.