A Simple Change: A Business Model that Makes a Difference

by Ken Mueller on March 6, 2014 · 1 comment

1920308_369763239831228_1183161808_nThis post is a guest post from my former student, Ashley Hill from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. She is a senior graphic design student, and is incredibly talented. Ashley recently launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo to help her start a new nonprofit. When I saw what she was doing, I asked her to share her vision for this nonprofit business here on my blog. Here is what she has to say:

As a graphic designer, I’ve been so blessed with this ability to visually communicate with people. And I love doing so! The idea that I could use my talents to do good has always been living in the back of my head, the challenge was figuring out how to put that idea on paper. From a compulsive desire to be a part of something greater and an immense love of a certain beverage, The Simple Cup was created.

The perfect opportunity arose for me to focus my efforts on creating and establishing The Simple Cup. I am a senior at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, and as a graduation requirement, seniors must complete a final “thesis” project. We spend our final semester focusing entirely on this project. I thought rather than creating and branding a fictitious business, I would do something that I could leave college with and continue to pursue and operate as an actual organization. All of the branding, design work, web development, social media exploration, marketing, writing, customer service, funding, etc…is done by yours truly – with the help and support of close friends and family. And the generosity of those who have donated to my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

What exactly is The Simple Cup?

It’s a not for profit coffee stand that offers consumers a simple way to give back. The Simple Cup’s mission is to offer support to other local growing nonprofits by selling only locally produced and handmade products. The products will be obtained by creating partnerships from local coffee roasters, local tea shops, local apiaries, etc. Partnerships are really the key pieces and ultimately what is going to make The Simple Cup a success. By thinking this way, The Simple Cup is embracing the sense of “community for change” that is already so rich in the Lancaster City area. I am a firm believer that the interconnectivity that exists in small communities can help to change lives on a global level!

The Simple Cup has already created a partnership with the local nonprofit Fields of Hope. Fields of Hope’s mission is to bring hope to women and children in the red light district of Ethiopia. 75% of the proceeds The Simple Cup brings in will be given directly to Fields of Hope. They are currently focusing their efforts on opening a cafe, which will offer steady and healthy job opportunities for women. They are also planning to build a school which will offer a safe place for children to learn and grow.

I love coffee. I love how coffee can be raw and yet, perfectly refined. It’s universal. It’s simple. With few exceptions, It is loved.

To learn a little more about The Simple Cup visit the website, or like The Simple Cup on Facebook.

In order to make this happen, Ashley needs to raise a certain amount of money, which is what she is doing through her Indiegogo campaign.

If you love coffee, if you love good causes, if you love helping others, and if you love helping startups get off the ground, I strongly urge you to check out the Simple Cup Indiegogo campaign, and consider backing her efforts. There are some really cool rewards available. Also, make sure you check out the Fields of Hope site, which was also designed by Ashley. I think you’ll agree that she is very talented and has a bright future. For her it’s not just about design, but about using her talents for good.



  1. […] I wrote about this last week, but my former student Ashley Hill is hoping to launch a cool new nonprofit here in Lancaster called The Simple Cup, and is doing some crowdfunding for it on Indiegogo. As I write this, she has just 9 more days to raise about $2,000. That’s really not that much. If just a small fraction of you could pledge at either the $10 or $25 level, she’d be funded in no time. Do it for me, do it for yourself, or do it for the many people who will benefit from this new nonprofit. I don’t care, just consider doing it. So please, click here now and make a pledge. […]

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