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GREAT FOOD IS EXPENSIVE these days, and can be totally out of reach for the struggling and homeless.

That’s why I was honored to speak with Mallory Andrews recently, the new executive director of FoCo Cafe here in our choice city.

You might have heard of the donation-based restaurant model. It’s a simple concept: eat what you want, and pay according to your ability and what you believe is fair.

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alchemy logoUSUALLY I PROFILE FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES but I was so fascinated by this story that I just had to share.

I was introduced to Lucy Wallace by Stephanie Heacox, who I talked about last week.  Lucy heads up Alchemy of Movement, where she delivers extremely energetic dance classes in Boulder.

But Lucy discovered an opportunity to bring dance into women’s prisons.  At first she thought this might just be an occasional class, but over the last year it’s become amazing.

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ANNETTE Annette ArchambeauAND PATRICK ARCHAMBEAU have a neat little window-washing business here in northern Colorado.  They’re focused, professional, and dedicated to building their loyal client base.

But they’re also quite clear that this company isn’t the purpose of their lives.  That honor falls to the dear horses they serve.

Back in the mid 1990s they formed a non-profit, now Archway Foal and Rescue Training.  This is their deep passion, helping foals needing medical and social assistance.  They typically work with an animal for 3 to 4 years, sometimes saving them from slaughter.

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MODERN WOODMEN OF AMERICA Modern Woodmen Logois a community-minded financial services company in the US.  Founded in 1883, they are structured as a 501(c)(8) “Fraternal Beneficiary Society,” a category I’d never heard of.  This is a designation for organizations which are primarily intended to provide insurance-type benefits to their members.

Modern Woodmen has a rich legacy of service, including widows and orphans, those suffering from the Tuberculosis outbreak a century ago, education, and eye care.

I had a chance this week to talk with John Weidenfeller, the local Regional Director in Northern Colorado.  He’s been with the organization for ten years now, opening up the Fort Collins office a few years ago.  He’s a strong supporter of the values of this company, and has committed himself to leading a group which is aligned around those principles.

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OTTERCARES FOUNDATION is the philanthropic arm of OtterBoxOtterboxWe’re familiar with OtterBox as the company which builds wonderful phone cases.

For those of us in Fort Collins, they’re also an inspiring example of an amazing employee culture and a rapidly-growing superstar.

I had the privilege of speaking with Tricia Lemmer and Gary Rogers last week, who are one half of OtterCares.  They told me more about the history behind this amazing organization, and how they bring their mission to life.

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TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES is a US-based company with a powerful mission to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries.  Formed in 1946, they now buy from 37 countries, have 78 branded stores in North America, about 260 other retail partners, and sales of $42M for the year ending March 2012.

They are one of the largest and most successful fair-trade organizations on the planet.

10kVillagesI had a chance recently to speak with Wendy Poppen, who runs our local store.  She brings a powerful passion in this role:  “I’m going to leave this planet a little better than I found it.”

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