Beloved Clarkston coffee shop challenges supporters for funds to buy space
“Every mission has a place. Ours is here in Clarkston, Georgia. We own our mission—will you help us own our place?”
This is the introduction of a video outlining Refuge Coffee Company’s latest fundraiser for $460,000—the amount needed to purchase property at 4170 E. Ponce de Leon Ave NE in downtown Clarkston where its current offices are located.
Refuge—a 501(c)3 nonprofit operating in Clarkston for the past two years—launched the crowdfund campaign on June 1 with hopes to raise the funds within 60 days. The amount will be used to purchase the garage it operates from Iberia bank, which currently owns the property.
If the nonprofit—which offers employment and job training for immigrants and refugees through a coffee house, catering services and coffee-focused food truck—cannot raise the funds, spokesmen state Refuge may have to relocate.
“If we don’t pay, we don’t get to stay,” a description of the fundraiser reads.
Staying, in Refuge Coffee Co.’s case, means continuing its mission to provide a safe place for Clarkston’s refugee community, which includes an estimated 2,500 individuals from more than 145 countries. The non-profit offers employment, job-training and event space.
Refuge helps new American citizens focus on a job schedule, meeting members of the community and earning their first American dollar.
“We believe in the power of welcome,” reads Refuge’s mission page. “We dream of a vibrant, resettled refuge community in Clarkston where our new neighbors are embraced and given opportunities to thrive through the business of hospitality. We will not only train resettled refugees here; we’ll create a place for these unique cultures to tell their stories and share their lives.”
According to founder Kitti Murray, Refuge used similar fundraising in November and December 2016 to raise $100,000, enough to maintain financial stability while waiting for the right time to make an offer on the property.
The fundraising efforts came after Refuge learned that Iberia may be considering other offers on the property.
“We felt that it was time to take ownership of the property,” Murray said June 6. “The city’s streetscape project is coming up in the fall and they’ve already bought the right of way. The perceived value of the property is about to go up.”
Murray said Refuge Coffee Co. has become Clarkston’s de facto town center because of its proximity to Clarkston City Hall, Thriftown, international markets, shops and restaurants. While location may be key, she said financial challenges still arise because Refuge is still considered a young non-profit.
Murray said she hopes the Clarkston community will support Refuge’s can repeat fundraising efforts and that the nonprofit is able make an offer on the property within 60 days.
“This really is a hopeful thing,” Murray said. “We’ve seen that this community has a vast, rich array of gifts and generosity. We just need a little bit extra of that generosity to make this happen.”
To donate to Refuge Coffee Co.’s $460,000 fundraising campaign, visit www.purecharity.com/a-place-for-refuge or refugecoffeeco.com. For more information, contact Kitti Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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