Unique Hell’s Kitchen storefront helps kids on two continents
For many New Yorkers, computers in coffee shops are an all-too-common sight, but something clearly different is happening at a unique new Hell’s Kitchen storefront that promises not only good coffee, but good karma.
The tiny shop with bright red trim at 469 W. 57th St. 1B is home to both the Loyalty Foundation, a not-for-profit that provides computers and tech education programs to kids in need, and Don Café, a family-owned fair-trade Colombian coffee shop which supports youth-oriented organizations back home in Cartagena.
The Loyalty Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity founded in 2019 by former Assistant New York City District Attorney David Neeman to close the digital divide by equalizing opportunities for those in communities with limited access to computers and digital education. (Fun fact: “Neeman” is pronounced “Ne'eman” in Hebrew, which means “loyalty.”) To date, the foundation has partnered with 17 organizations in 11 states to provide K-12 students in underserved communities with free Chromebooks and supporting education programs.
The foundation’s work is funded by donations of used personal computers as well as IT equipment from schools, organizations, and corporations (Etsy was a recent donor), all of which are securely processed by partner and e-waste recycling giant, Liquid Technology.
Don Café was founded in 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia before coming to New York in 2014, where they have a coffee cart at Lincoln Center’s Richard Tucker Square. Co-owners Cecilia Solano and son Carlos Guzman proudly source their coffee directly from small caficultores (coffee growers) who have proven to be socially responsible and who employ ecologically sustainable farming practices.
Since 2013, Don Café has been a donor to two Cartagena organizations: Fundevida, a non-profit providing social assistance to children with cancer and hematological illnesses and the HIT Foundation (Fundación HIT), a non-profit that offers sports programming to young boys in under-resourced communities.
When Neeman decided to open up the storefront as the Loyalty Foundation headquarters and donation center, he was concerned there would not be enough foot traffic and that he might not need the entire space. He was briefly considering hosting pop-up shops in the space, when a lucky coffee provided a solution. “I went to see a movie at Lincoln Center and had a cup of Don Café coffee from their 66th Street cart,” Neeman said. “Loved the coffee, dug their vibe. They liked what we were doing, were interested in a storefront, so we agreed to lease the front portion of the space in exchange for a percentage of the gross revenue to support our work.”
“Our collaboration with Loyalty Foundation is captured by the phrase ‘coffee with a purpose,’ which was tagged by our longtime employee and consultant, Santos Sayago,” says Don Café president, Carlos Guzman. “It has never been enough for us to simply be in business. We are also concerned with creating social impact afforded by the success of our ventures. Teaming up with Loyalty Foundation permits us to grow by forging a new relationship with an organization doing critical work in technology with kids from under-resourced communities across the US.”
Visitors to 469 W. 57th St. 1B can learn about the Loyalty Foundation’s work, arrange a donation, enjoy a Don Café latte and pan de bono, and most importantly, collect a whopping double-dose of good karma knowing that by doing so they are supporting good works and empowering kids on two continents.
About The Loyalty Foundation The Loyalty Foundation was founded Summer 2019 by former New York City District Attorney David Neeman with the mission to close the digital divide by equalizing opportunities for those in communities with limited access to computers and tech education. The Loyalty Foundation derives funding by securely and sustainably recycling used technology and from financial grants and donations. More info and how to donate at www.loyaltyfoundation.org. The Loyalty Foundation is located at 469 W. 57th St. 1B. Follow the Loyalty Foundation on Instagram @loyalty_foundation and Twitter @Devices4All. #goodcomputerkarma #devices4all
About Don Café
Don Café was founded by Cecilia Solano, Carlos Guzman, and Cesar Pineda in 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, before relocating to New York City in 2014. Serving superior sustainably-sourced, fair trade coffee and cultivating service as a cultural custom have been pillars of this family-owned business since the beginning. Don Café is known for their lattes and authentic Colombian pastries such as pan de bono (traditional Colombian cheese bread) and guava croissants. They will soon offer the popular Colombian warm weather drink, agua de panela, an infusion made from panela which is derived from hardened sugar cane juice and mixed with lime juice. Don Café is located in Lincoln Center’s Richard Tucker Square (near 66th Street and Broadway) and now at 469 W. 57th St. 1B. Follow Don Café on Instagram @doncafenewyork #coffeewithapurpose