Feeding Our Community Ourselves, Inc.

A nonprofit organization

$28,456 raised by 268 donors

95% complete

$30,000 Goal

As a "For-Impact" nonprofit restaurant, FoCo Cafe serves every member of our community, regardless of their ability to make a financial contribution. We do not offer hands-outs -- instead we offer a hand-up by empowering our patrons to contribute however they are able, fostering a sense of dignity and respect among all who enter the cafe. Whether you make a donation or volunteer, you will receive the same delicious meal!


"I ate here yesterday with my 4 year old. This not for profit restaurant is a great concept ensuring anyone who is hungry can eat regardless of income and financial status. You can pay what you normally would, more, less or even volunteer for your meal. The food was good and is Organic, non-GMO, with vegetarian and gluten free options. Highly recommend we all support our fellow brothers and sisters and eat here."
~ Jeremy Howie, Google review

"The "pay what you can" restaurant model is vital to ensure locally sourced, nutrient dense, healthy meals are available to all regardless of their ability to pay. While national indicators tout economic recovery, that reality has escaped more than 40,000 people in Larimer County who struggle with food insecurity - those that don't know where their next meal is coming from. These individuals, families, and children deal with the harsh realities each day of not having adequate financial resources to meet their basic food needs. The FoCo Cafe provides nutritious meals in a restaurant setting to all individuals in a dignified manner. All people including business-people, city officials, teachers, students, and people with limited resources are encouraged to sit together and get to know each other as individuals thereby breaking down stereotypical images."
~ Rita McCusker, Community Outreach Manager, Hunger Free Colorado

"This place has been a lifesaver -- superb organic food with gluten-free options at a time when my resources are extremely limited. I'm deeply grateful for access to such good nutrition, served with joy, and obviously created with loving mindfulness."
~ Liz Tufte, Google review

"I teach a Sophomore-level course at CSU called "World Interdependence: Food and Population." Each Spring semester I have 80 to 90 students from all walks of life that come together in this course to learn about how the world's agricultural and food systems keep up with our burgeoning population and changing diets. The students have a term project requirement. As one option they are encouraged to volunteer, on a weekly basis, with a local food-assistance program in the northern Colorado region. In the past many have worked with the Food Bank of Larimer County or the Fort Collins Rescue Mission. This year, upon learning about the FoCo Café, no less than 11 students sought out Jeff and Kathleen and signed up to volunteer with the Café initiative. The students' reflections were not the kinds of reflections we usually get on course surveys after a typical lecture-style course at the university. It is only when students are engaged in opportunities of this sort-with organizations that are ready and able to bring them on board and put them to work within an existing network of volunteers and managers-that such living education can occur. The opportunities are significant, and my intention as a CSU professor will be to work with FoCo Café to continue creating inroads at CSU and invite my colleagues in other programs to take advantage of the excellent opportunity I see for the university in having such an innovative non-profit social enterprise with which to partner, for the benefit of our students and our local community."
~ Dr. Gregory D. Graff, Associate Professor, Agriculture and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

"As a member of CanDo, the FoCo Café truly embodies our goals of increasing the availability, affordability and consumption of healthy foods and ensuring equitable access to a healthy lifestyle.We applaud the Baumgardner's efforts to utilize unique community assets while leveraging the expertise and strengths of local individuals and organizations, really making this a true community endeavor."
~ Aubrey Hoover, Obesity Prevention Specialist,
CanDo - Coalition for Activity and Nutrition to Defeat Obesity
UC Health

"Hi! My husband and I ate at your cafe when we were homeless in Fort Collins. We have a home and jobs now and were very inspired by your business. Your cafe gave us the opportunity to interact with people who were not on the street and to feel "normal." Also, to be treated like a regular human. Your business is incredible. We are in Larry's home state of Kentucky now, and we want to create a business like yours. Do you have any tips for how I might get started? I have a lot of skills and education to utilize in what I imagine it takes to start a business. We are both working in the food industry right now. Any advice you can offer will be appreciated. And thanks for feeding us. God bless you!"
- Name removed for privacy purposes

Giving Activity


FoCo Cafe's mission is to build community by providing nutritious and delicious meals with dignity to the people of Fort Collins regardless of their ability to pay while using local, organic, and sustainably grown ingredients.

FoCo Cafe operates on a donation basis so you can make a monetary donation or make your contribution through volunteerism for up to half an hour in exchange for a mouth watering meal. This allows ALL people to access nutritious meals with dignity and to participate in community, filling a need as basic as that of food.

FoCo Cafe has served 131,000+ beautiful pay what you can meals as of November 2023. We seek funds for a year of Cafe rent and utility costs, offsetting our modest budget and helping us focus on making an impact for our guests and our community!

Background Statement

Sometimes the best ideas are hatched while sharing a local beer with friends. A discussion of the amazing work being done by local nonprofits led FoCo Cafe’s cofounder Jeff to mention the idea of a nonprofit cafe. Kathleen replied that she had recently seen a news story about one in Denver – SAME Café.

At the time, Jeff was teaching, with a background in medicine and agricultural/food research and a passion for cooking. Kathleen was a Director of Communications at Colorado State University managing print, web, social media, and outreach efforts for the college. Jeff and Kathleen wanted to combine their experiences and passions into a setting that offered amazing food, a commitment to service, and building community at its center.

And so it began…an e-mail to SAME Café led to volunteering at that café within a week, which then led both Jeff and Kathleen to begin researching the need in Fort Collins. They began setting meetings with anyone and everyone in town. The overwhelmingly positive response pushed them forward.

Only months later, Jeff and Kathleen found their garage full of donated kitchen equipment, café tables, and chairs. Boxes of dishes would appear on their front porch, e-mails came in from people eager to volunteer, college students began working on key projects, professionals were offering valuable services at no cost; and this pay-what-you-can cafe became a reality, opening on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.

In 2017, Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner retired to Hawaii. They turned the reins over to their intern, Mallory Garneau. Mallory joined the FoCo Café team as an intern in August 2016 and became Executive Director in June 2017, after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Colorado State University. Mallory currently oversees all of the cafe operations.

Organization Data


Organization name

Feeding Our Community Ourselves, Inc.

other names

FoCo Cafe

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Food, Agriculture & Nutrition

Organization Size

Medium Organization


225 Maple Street
Fort Collins, CO 80521


PO Box 242
Fort Collins, CO 80522-0242

Service areas

Larimer County, CO, US



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