Wouldn't it be nice to create a venue where charitable giving is infused with our daily life activities? Activities such as dining and entertainment. We, at infusion, hope to bring, exposure ( possibly funds) to the causes and organizations that need it. These ideas are based upon the tenets of socially conscious business. We don’t want to be the best restaurant IN Westchester; we want to be the best restaurant FOR Westchester!
One of the difficulties of a socially conscious business is defining its role and then communicating it to the public. We know that most people want to help each other in meaningful and impactful ways. We also know that many people enjoy socializing, going out for a meal with family, drinks with friends or an evening of entertainment with both. Since this is the case for many of us, we thought why not combine the experience of dining and socializing with worthy causes? We began to see Infusion as an opportunity to expand upon “service” in a way that we hope will benefit others. Infusion plans to donate a percentage of its food profits to various local charities. This is not only good heart sense, it is good common sense.
We are assembling a voluntary board of advisers to assist in choosing the charities and we’ll feature them prominently in the restaurant. We are actively creating a model for transparency so you can see how much was raised in any particular quarter. We are however, a work in progress. And as such, we are attempting to determine what percentage of kitchen food sale profits is enough? What is too much for a new business to risk, especially in the fickle restaurant industry? There are many questions we’re asking of ourselves, but our eyes are on the prize. So we’ve opened a malleable and fluid spirit regarding implementation. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we do have a purpose, or as some might say, “raison d’etre.”
We consider this community to be our ultimate stakeholder. We will not require donations to achieve our mission nor will you ever be solicited for a donation. Also, we would like to offer to any charitable organizations holding their fundraising events here, a percentage of the events net food sale profits in the form of a check to their charity. This would be separate and distinct from the 2-3 charities that are already featured that quarter. We welcome your suggestions and input as the more ideas we are able to conjure together the more effective our mission. Our view is simply that activism in the real world means an active pursuit of benign change for the less fortunate in our area. We don’t want to be the best restaurant IN Westchester; we want to be the best restaurant FOR Westchester!
Seven Tenets of Socially Conscious Business
- Accessible activism. These businesses offer a product or service that's already part of your daily life. It's not about the extraneous or extravagant purchase. Instead, it's about democratizing activism: everyone buys salad dressing (Newman's Own) and office supplies (Give Something Back).
- Competitive price points. Their products and services are not more expensive than those of non-socially conscious businesses. The goal is not to pass on the cost of supporting nonprofit organizations to the consumer, but to find a creative way to make being socially conscious affordable.
- Community-oriented mission. These businesses provide a physical (or web) site for activism, fundraising, and community service. The goal is to create a community of customers united around a shared cause, which then can speak with a collective voice. To that end, sometimes these businesses will allow customers to direct their donations: for example, Working Assets does this through an online vote, and Blue State Coffee asks customers to vote in-store.
- Transparency, in two ways. First, often these companies will include in their missions an upfront commitment--a certain percentage of sales or after-tax profits, usually--to support nonprofit organizations. Second, these companies will disclose how much they've given and which nonprofits have benefited. This isn't bragging -- it's demonstrating that corporations can be a transparent agent for good.
- Education, also in two ways. First, these businesses provide information on the nonprofit organizations they support in order to educate the customer on the cause, encourage him or her to get involved, and provide the next step to doing so. Second, these businesses educate the customer on the larger power and impact--environmental or otherwise--of consumer choices.
- Environmental sustainability. Consistent with a socially conscious mission, most of these businesses try to minimize their negative impact on the environment. Some businesses purchase carbon credits to offset their carbon footprint (through Carbonfund.org) and use eco-friendly paper products (through Greenerprinter.com).
- Fair employee pay. These companies generally offer better employee compensation and benefits than non-socially conscious businesses.