How Gimme! Coffee Gives Back

To enter Gimme! is to arrive in coffee heaven. With neighborhood landmarks on State Street, Cayuga Street, and beyond, Gimme! Coffee cafes are beacons of the artisanal coffee movement where, according to the New York Times, “the drinks reflect an obsession with each detail of the journey from farm to cup and an almost cultish pride in the results.”

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Baristas of Gimme! Coffee on State Street

Since opening its Fall Creek coffee bar in 2000, Gimme! has expanded to three other Ithaca locations, to Trumansburg, and to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district in New York City—and Gimme! runs a brisk wholesale and online retail trade as well. The aficionados are impressed: magazines count Gimme! among the “top 10 U.S. coffee bars” and “top 10 coffee shops in Manhattan.” The Good Food Awards have honored Gimme! three times.

Beyond the aroma of a perfectly balanced expresso, Gimme! also gets credit for being a good neighbor. For years, Gimme! has helped schools, sports teams, and various nonprofits with Gimme! fundraisers that allow organizations to keep 45 percent of their sales of Gimme! coffees. Last year, Gimme! launched a Rally Cause Coffee program, in which it donates a dollar of every bag sold of its Rally coffee to community nonprofit organizations that align with Gimme!’s mission.

Gimme! selected The Sophie Fund to benefit from its Rally donations for the third quarter of 2018—July through September. (The other recipient is the New York City chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.) Selling in-store or online at $16.50 for a 12-ounce bag, Gimme!’s Rally coffee is a mild and smooth Fair Trade Organic blend with toasted almond, dried cherry, and milk chocolate notes.

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The Rally campaign has raised more than $3,200 in the past year, with donations going to organizations such as Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, Foodnet Meals on Wheels, Hospicare, The Advocacy Center, and the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming.

In choosing The Sophie Fund, Amina Omari, Gimme!’s chief operating officer, noted that several Gimme! managers and staffers attended a Mental Health First Aid training sponsored by The Sophie Fund earlier this year. “Mental health is an issue that touches all of us, and we heartily support The Sophie Fund’s mission to improve and support the mental health of our community,” she said.

Omari said that while philanthropy has always been part of Gimme!’s mission, it is also determined to help strengthen the communities it serves:

“During these challenging times, we wanted to help shine a light on, and bring support to, the wide variety of community organizations who are working to make a positive impact in the world. Sustainability is a core part of our mission, and for us that includes a commitment to sustainable community.  Our cafes have always been a community space, where people of all kinds meet, interact, and engage. We’re part of the community, and the community is important to us!”

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—By Sophie Jones

Sophie Jones, an intern at The Sophie Fund, is a junior at Cornell University majoring in psychology and minoring in visual studies. She skates on the Synchronized Skating Team and volunteers with the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.