Good Coffee for a Good Cause
The mantra of Dutch Bros Coffee is “make a difference, one cup at a time.” The company and its Chief of Staff, Keith Thomajan also make a difference by serving up cups of compassion.
Coffee and causes go hand in hand
Dutch Bros was founded by Dane and Travis Boersma, brothers of Dutch descent, in 1992 in Grants Pass, Oregon. The company with a unique corporate culture has become known for serving up more than coffee. They are very generous donors to worthy organizations, including Albie Aware.
Breast cancer hits close to home
For Keith, the issue of breast cancer is personal. Last year, Keith’s wife, Edie, had a close encounter with the disease.
“She had been a strong proponent for consistent testing and checking, and fortunately it paid off in her case,” Keith says. “The cancer was caught early. That is the most important thing. Awareness and highlighting this disease is what is going to save lives.”
Edie had a lumpectomy a year ago and is now cancer-free. “She’s a badass and pretty strong woman,” he says. “We got through this comparatively easy compared to so many. We dodged a bullet and we are so grateful.”
A good fit for Keith and his family
Keith is an accomplished person doing important work, yet the thing that stands out when talking to him is his humility and kindness. He cares strongly about family, community, and his company. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two teenage sons. “Dutch Bros is a flexible company,” Keith says. “They are allowing me to work out of Portland until our sons graduate from high school.” Until then, he travels to Grants Pass two or three times a week.
Before joining Dutch Bros, Keith spent 25 years working with non-profits, most recently as CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. Dutch Bros fits in well with his philanthropic values. “I am working with a team to develop a long-term business strategy, including philanthropy, sustainability, and government and community affairs,” he explains.
Be Aware benefits Albie Aware and more
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Dutch Bros is conducting its Be Aware campaign. All month, the company will donate $10 from each custom “Be Aware” mug sold to Albie Aware and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland. The mugs feature a new design each year. For 2019, the hot pink insulated mug features a line from the Dutch Bros creed, “Too strong for fear.”
Dutch Bros is a significant contributor to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a pioneer in personalized cancer treatment and research. Its mission is to advance the early detection of cancer, when the disease is the most treatable, and to end cancer as we know it.
Keeping donations local
Since 2015, they have also supported Albie Aware and its mission. “Our people in our greater Sacramento Dutch Bros locations felt Albie Aware was an organization that was doing great work,” says Keith. “They are advocates for this partnership.”
Heather Mauel, who owns the Auburn and Rocklin shops says, “We wanted to keep it local. We wanted to support our Northern California region. The dollars we raise stay local and serves the women and men in our community struggling with breast cancer.”
Heather goes on to say, “I was never around breast cancer before, and now as I’m getting older, I am seeing it. I have a friend fighting stage four breast cancer. It really hits home now.”
“This company puts a major emphasis on health and community and are exceptionally generous,” Keith says. “I am proud that we play a role around consistent screening and early detection, as well as support for families who are going through treatment. Breast cancer touches too many lives.”
Employees are the key to success
“It is an exciting time to be with Dutch Bros,” Keith says. “They provide many opportunities for employee growth within the company and support growth in our ability to help the community.”
He adds, “Our success is 100% a function of our people. What sets us apart is the experience when people visit our locations… I like to say it’s the best three minutes of the day. Our employees are energetic, caring, giving back to every consumer and in every community. This company is more like a movement than a traditional entity. We are most proud of the people who work for us and the positive reflection they create for our brand. All you need to do is meet a Dutch Bros employee to get a sense of who we are as a company.” In 2017, the company was on the Forbes ‘Small Giants’ list of America’s Best Small Companies. Co-founder Travis was once featured on the popular television show, “Undercover Boss.”
Dutch Bros and Albie Aware share community values
Keith makes it clear that he and Dutch Bros believe in Albie Aware. “We have a deep appreciation for Albie Aware, who they are, what they stand for, and their volunteers and the donors that make their efforts possible. Like Dutch Bros, Albie Aware is reliant on their communities who help them improve lives.”