Stop by Dutch Bros in Lacey on September 29 and you’ll get more than you bargained for. On National Coffee Day, the company will be donating one dollar from every drink purchased to the North Thurston Education Foundation as part of the company’s ‘Buck for Kids Day’.
It’s pretty simple,” says Carrie Wall, local Dutch Bros franchise owner. “Come by and get hooked up with an amazing cup of coffee! Knowing that $1 from that cup will go towards underprivileged youth in our area is pretty rad!”
On the September 29, customers won’t need to pay any extra to donate. Simply by buying a cup at Dutch Bros as usual will send $1 to Lacey school kids in need. And, as if the donation wasn’t enough to put a smile on your face – for every large drink purchased, Wall and her team will hook you up with nine stamps. Yes – nine.
Wall sits on the board of the Foundation which helps to create an equal educational experience for all students, regardless of their financial situation. “I get to see firsthand what we do and it’s an amazing cause,” she says. “The Foundation helps with expenses for kids and their families. In our district, 40% of students receive free and reduced lunches and over 900 are homeless. The need is real.”
The Foundation contributes to a variety of projects, including clean clothes and a laundry room for students who may not have consistent housing, class fees for field trips, funds for eye exams and glasses or other medical needs, and even money for hotel rooms if a family needs a safe place to stay. “We also offer scholarships and learning improvement grants,” says Wall.
Within the North Thurston School District, teachers and administrators can request a Foundation grant for specific needs. Those may include areas like innovation, creative arts, building character or closing the achievement gap. “If they’re working with a group of students to help them graduate and they need some sort of teaching tool, they can apply,” says Wall. “We’ve already had 22 grant applications for this quarter alone.”
Connecting with the community comes naturally for both Wall and Dutch Bros. The Grants Pass, Oregon-based chain is the largest privately-owned drive through coffee chain in the country. Annually, the chain donates 1% of the profits from its 284 locations to charity, as well as hosting multiple fundraising events for local non-profits throughout the year. The annual ‘Buck for Kids Day’ occurs nationwide and every Valentine’s Day the chain collaborates with local food banks.
That’s part of what drew Wall to become a franchise owner in the first place. “They’re not just a coffee company,” she says. “The driving force is the bigger picture. Their vision is to change lives through experience and the positive impact we have on our communities. That’s the main reason I decided to become a part of Dutch Bros. Their vision aligned with the way my husband and I live our lives.”
Wall’s husband recently retired after 20 years in law enforcement and the past four as a sheriff’s deputy for Thurston County. The family’s connection to North Thurston Schools is cemented by their three children who range in age from four to ten.
Since opening their first location in November 2009 and the Lacey operation in 2013, Wall and her staff have come to know their customers well. “Really, we’re just friends,” she explains. “They understand what we’re trying to accomplish and there’s an amazing energy that happens between the community and the “broistas” – Dutch Bros name for their talented drink creators. They care just as much about what’s going on in our lives as we care about what’s happening in theirs.”
That’s no accident. Wall and her husband have intentionally created a culture where staff feel like family. “I want them to realize that they’re a part of it all,” she says. “We want our customers to leave feeling loved and appreciated and happier than they were when they got here. We’re one big family and we want to bring our customers along with us.”
The culture also includes key core values: customer service, quality and speed. “That’s what we preach all the time and those are at the forefront of everything we do,” she says.
All three will be on full display on September 29 when the drive-thru lines will be full of terrific coffee and big smiles – from customers, broistas and Wall, too.
To learn more about Dutch Bros, visit www.dutchbros.com or call (360) 878-9410.