Dear Purple Door and Dry Bones Support Team,
I want to begin by saying this: I’ve never experienced more direct and impactful life-change among the Dry Bones community than the work we get to be a part of through Purple Door Coffee. It is remarkable.
As we officially launched Purple Door Coffee in 2012, alongside our partner Belay Enterprises, we established PDC as its own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. This was strategic from the start and was a part of the design in our earliest planning days – around the end of 2007.
At that time, Dry Bones was not in a position to own a social enterprise or to begin and launch a business. Short staffed and still quite young, we wanted to guard against losing our depth of focus on street level relationships and community building. Our board of directors at that time could see that if we began operating a coffee business at Dry Bones in the late 2000s, our staff’s time would soon be fully devoted to the business. Dry Bones would be at risk of losing its core mission of spiritual community-building in the trenches.
We are so thankful for the wisdom of both the Dry Bones and Belay boards during this season of new beginnings. Their wisdom was spot on. Mark Smesrud and Madison Chandler were a godsend as they took the vision and plan and ran with it. Mark and Madison spent the next several years pouring their heart and soul into building Purple Door Coffee. Dry Bones continued to provide the stream of all program participants while also providing as much emotional support as possible.
Fast forward to 2019 – Dry Bones staff had grown to a healthy size. We had established a new central headquarters. We were in our 18th year of operation and had matured in many critical areas. We were enjoying the strength of a community of partners that truly loved and believed in our mission. (We still are!) Many of you in the Dry Bones world have supported and followed the birth of PDC from day one.
Also by 2019, Madison Chandler, a PDC founder, had moved on to new adventures in life (2016 – with all of our blessing). PDC quickly became understaffed and overworked. The board of PDC approached Dry Bones with the idea of bringing PDC fully under the umbrella of Dry Bones Denver in April of 2019. It soon became evident that this merger would provide much needed emotional, spiritual, and physical support to Purple Door while also strengthening the impact of the entire Dry Bones community – especially the continuity of care for all program employees. Together, as one, we would be able to strategize and grow the depth of our impact in the lives of those we served. Dry Bones was now in a position to welcome Purple Door to become a part of our 501(c)3.
In February of 2020, the merger of Purple Door Coffee back home to Dry Bones Denver was completed. Purple Door Coffee is now officially “A social enterprise of Dry Bones Denver.”
As a part of this merger, Dry Bones has welcomed Mark Smesrud onto our staff roster. Mark joins weekly staff meetings, receives health insurance, office space and equipment, is able to lean on the daily support of other staff members, and much more. We also added four strategic new board members to bolster Purple Door operations and have plans to hire additional leadership staff to build and grow more job training opportunities at Purple Door! It’s really been a huge blessing all around.
For those of you that have supported Purple Door Coffee for the past 6 years, we absolutely still need you. Your monthly and annual gifts to PDC are more crucial than ever. You will likely not feel or notice the merger as a donor, but we do hope that you’ll soon experience an increase in our communication and depth of partnership with you. We also hope that you’ll join us in our excitement that PDC is only getting stronger and better this year!
As a social enterprise, Purple Door will likely always depend on donations in addition to coffee sales revenue. We spend approximately 1000% more hours on training employees than the average job. This, of course, is why we exist. Job training and life change is the mission.
As we settle into this merger, we are working on plans to increase grant writing, much-needed staff additions and development, renewing job-training curriculum, beginning important risk assessments, and much more.
We are encouraged and excited as we dream about employing more youth and young adults exiting the street life in the near future! We are extremely motivated and poised for growth and impact.
Thank you for continuing to be a part of this ever-unfolding Purple Door story.