Missional Field Notes

Quotes, Examples, and Ideas from My Missional Frontier

A Missional Pub in Portland

November 20, 2014

I can dream can’t I? Putting beer to a good cause. Here’s the article to read more.

Planning for the pub began about four years ago, while Woodlawn resident and neighborhood leader Ryan Saari sat in his backyard barbecuing with friends.

The group began talking about ways they could get involved in their community. Portland has enough nonprofits, they thought, but all of them could use help finding funding.

“I said, ‘What about a pub?'” says Saari, a 33-year-old who has already developed a name for himself as pastor of The Oregon Community, a hip, young church housed on the second floor of the Village Ballroom building. “That’d be crazy, but why not?”

Saari and a team of friends set to work on a business plan. As part of the pub’s socially responsible mission, employees would be paid a fair wage, and vendors would receive a fair price. The founders would work for free.

They would charge customers typical bar prices. After the bills were paid, all net profits would go to a rotating group of local charities vetted by the board. Saari thinks of the pub as “the fundraising department” for the charities it supports.

“We don’t want our pub to be a serious place, but we do want it to be a place where people know we’re about something greater than just getting together for a beer,” Saari says. The pub’s model takes the idea of businesses giving back to a higher level. Stores for years have allowed customers to round up the change on their purchases or donate the rebate for bringing their own grocery bag to a good cause, or vowed to donate a percentage of the night’s proceeds to charity.

But at The Oregon Public House, every last penny is donated, every night. Saari and his fellow proprietors don’t take a dime off the top. He invites skeptics to have a look at the bar’s books. They’re public.

“We’ve done everything through volunteer work, except the stuff the city requires licensed contractors to do,” Saari says.

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