Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company Charitable Foundation was established in November 2018 to mobilize resources of the Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company community to support small nonprofit organizations in the greater Indianapolis area.

From the Start

In early 2009 I began to think about opening a coffee shop in downtown Indianapolis. My wife Judy and I started to dream and plan about the possibility. We wanted the shop to be more than a place to get a great cup of coffee. We wanted it to be a place where everyone feels welcome – a place of community. And we wanted it to be known as a place that gives back to its neighbors.

At that time, Judy and I lived in the Fletcher Place neighborhood. We loved the people there and decided to locate the shop in the heart of the neighborhood – on Virginia Avenue, the connecting street between the downtown core and Fountain Square. When the shop first opened, Virginia Avenue had few other businesses.

Very quickly after opening, Calvin Fletcher’s customers began to feel like our family members, and the sense of community grew. But how could the shop give back to our community and the greater Indianapolis area – especially when, at the time, we had no profits to share? What we did have - just like other coffee shops – was a tip cup/jar. Why not give our tips to deserving not-for-profits in the area? Customers generously responded to the idea.

Over the years, we have seen many benefits come from our tip cup. Multiple not-for-profit groups have received a boost in the work they do. Customers have become more aware of the charitable organizations serving around them and have found a convenient and easy way to contribute. And our family has been overwhelmed by the number of groups and individuals who are compassionately striving to make Indianapolis and the surrounding area a better place to live.

Doug Litsey
Founder and Co-Owner, Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company

Next Steps

From the beginning, when Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company began to use the tip cup to provide grants to nonprofits, monies coming in through that source have totaled between $1,000 to $1,500 per month. While a $1,000 (or larger) grant can be a great boost to a small nonprofit, Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company believes it is time to do more.

In November 2018, Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company created a charitable foundation: Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company Charitable Foundation.

As a 501(c)(3), the newly-created foundation will:  

  • Continue to use the tip cup to funnel monies to the foundation (10 months of the year).

  • Provide an avenue for online giving.

  • Encourage matching funds from other local businesses that would like to partner in supporting one or more of the grant recipients.

  • Encourage donors to use matching funds from their place of employment.

  • Provide multiple channels to inform donors of charitable, non-profit organizations supported by the foundation.

  • Provide donors with contribution receipts for gifts of $200 or more for tax purposes

The Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company Charitable Foundation will give preference to small nonprofits that may struggle for name recognition and have annual budgets of less than 1 million. In addition, the foundation has established these eligibility guidelines for organizations applying for grants.

Art below by Emma Bennett