Earlier in October, DCist posted an article about the new Shaw neighborhood "PhilanthroPub" Cause opening this week. We wanted to hear the nonprofit's side of the story, so we asked Martha Holley-Miers, the Director of Development and Communications for one of our members, Higher Achievement, to tell us more about it.
We are pleased to share that a new approach to philanthropy lands in the District this week: Cause Bar, opening Wednesday, October 24th. Cause bills itself as DC's first philanthropub, a bar and restaurant that distributes its net profits to nonprofit partners. The Cause model makes giving more convenient, fun, and transparent for the general population. By bringing charitable giving into day to day living, Cause will break down barriers and allow more and more people to be involved. At the same time, Cause will provide much-needed exposure and funds for featured organizations. And, with staff hailing from some of the city's best bars and restaurants – Chef Geoff's, the Queen Vic, Wonderland, and more – you know it will be a great destination for you and your friends!
Higher Achievement, a leading out-of-school time organization operating here in the DC area as well as Baltimore, Richmond, and Pittsburgh, has been named one of Cause's four inaugural partner organizations, and we couldn't be more excited! The nonprofits, selected after an application and vetting process, will be promoted at Cause from its opening night through the month of January, with patrons selecting the organization that should receive a portion of the profits from their bill. We will also promote our volunteer opportunities – from weekly mentoring to one-time service days – with Cause patrons, boosting our local profile and helping us meet volunteer recruitment goals. We were really excited when we first learned about Cause – the founders, Nick and Raj, align so closely with Higher Achievement and our efforts to create opportunity in the communities we serve. The timing couldn't be more perfect as our Afterschool Academy launched this month – as we serve more students than ever before, this provides a great chance to secure the financial and volunteer support we need to serve our scholars with excellence. They loved the fact that we could provide opportunities for their patrons to get more involved with our organization, through a variety of volunteer opportunities and impact demonstrated right here in our city.
By opening doors to new financial, promotional, and volunteer recruitment support, Cause will help Higher Achievement meet our goals for the year, providing rigorous academic enrichment to middle school students in the afterschool and summer hours. Higher Achievement recruits, trains, and supports more than 500 community members to serve as academic mentors and study hall aides, the largest corps of weekly volunteers in the area. Our scholars benefit from this community support and realize remarkable academic gains. Last year, 80% of scholars improved their reading grade by a full letter grade, or maintained an A or B; 65% of scholars saw the same success in their math classes. 95% of graduates advance to high school programs that will keep them on the college track; 93% advance to college; and, 76% graduate from college within four years – that's nearly double the national average.
We are committed to providing Higher Achievement programming at no cost to our scholars, but that is made possible only with private philanthropic support and committed volunteers. Cause helps Higher Achievement secure both, with the added benefit of a great night out on the town!
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