LINCOLN SQUARE — The Grind Cafe is going its fellow coffee shops one better and donating not just profits from a single weekend but an entire month to the ACLU.
Owner Tara Swadley said one of her goals was to get people talking.
Among the conversations she didn’t imagine: “There are people asking, ‘What is the ACLU?'” Swadley said.
(The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and protects individuals’ rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and laws.)
“We’re a bunch of lucky people in this neighborhood who have never had to have our civil rights defended,” she said.
The Grind, 4613 N. Lincoln Ave., was one of more than two dozen Chicago coffee shops that took part in a nationwide fundraiser for the ACLU last weekend, but Swadley said it made more sense, from an accounting standpoint, to tally up donations over the course of an entire month.
Can she afford to lose a month’s profit?
“We’ll find out,” said Swadley, who emphasized that payroll would be met first, per usual.
Businesses on her stretch of Lincoln, between Eastwood and Wilson, are still recovering from a rocky 2016, she said, which saw foot traffic take major hit due to the closing of Fine Wine Brokers, renovations at the Davis Theater and a water main project.
“This block suffers from a lack of energy,” Swadley said. “I’m trying to counter that.”