Socially conscious businesses in Portland

Support the local community and great causes as you shop and sip your way through the city.

sociallyconsciousHelp out a good cause by sipping a latte at Happy Cup Coffee.
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    Ashley Anderson

    It’s no secret that Portland is home to some of the country’s best breweries, coffee roasters and vintage boutiques, but did you know we also excel in the arena of socially conscious businesses? Shop locally and support vulnerable populations on your next trip to the City of Roses.

    Start your morning off on the right foot with a latte at cozy Happy Cup Coffee inside Portland’s City Hall. Happy Cup provides employment opportunities for adults with disabilities who have aged out of special education programs. Whether you purchase a single cup or a pound of their ethically sourced coffee, part of the profits go toward vocational and recreational programming.

    Not just a “Portlandia” filming location, In Other Words is the only nonprofit feminist bookstore and community center in the United States. Buy a copy of classic feminist texts like bell hooks’ All About Love or engage with the local activist community at events like prisoner letter-writing seasons, radical elder discussion groups and Black Lives Matter meetings.

    If you need more reading material, keep your eyes peeled for friendly street vendors selling Street Roots, a quality weekly newspaper that focuses on coverage of homelessness and poverty. The publication partners with vendors (most of whom are experiencing homelessness), who buy the papers for 25 cents and resell them for $1. Your purchase helps folks build their resumes and provides a path to independence.

    If you’ve worked up an appetite, stock up on groceries and snacks at a local New Seasons Market. The world’s first B Corp-certified grocer, this community-oriented chain boasts nearly 20 locations in the Portland metropolitan area. Each is stocked to the brim with locally sourced, healthful foods and products. Even better, New Seasons donates 10% of after-tax profits to nonprofits. If that’s not the organic cherry on the vegan cake, we’re not sure what is!

    While you’re at New Seasons, go ahead and grab a bag of Central City Coffee beans. This coffee company is a division of Central City Concern (CCC), a nonprofit dedicated to providing lasting solutions to homelessness. Like Happy Cup, Central City Coffee aids individuals in achieving self-sufficiency by equipping them with transferrable skills. Other CCC programs include affordable housing, access to healthcare and safe recovery services. Of course, in addition to their community benefits, the coffee beans serve as a tasty, easy-to-pack gift or souvenir.

    Another Portland company selling products at New Seasons, GladRags takes care of bodies, budgets and the biosphere, one period at a time. With durable, environmentally conscious and reusable menstrual pads and cups, this B-Corporation gives folks with periods a slew of options. The company even works with another nonprofit, UnTabooed, to provide menstrual health education and reusable products to those in need.

    When it’s finally time to toss back a hoppy beer, give Ex Novo Brewing a try. Like many Portland staples, Ex Novo grew out of humble homebrew beginnings, but it’s no typical brewpub. In 2014, it became the very first nonprofit brewery in the United States. All net profits are donated to carefully selected organizations that fight poverty, oppression and economic inequality for all. (The beer’s pretty great, too!)


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