Sometimes a midday caffeine boost feels more like a necessity than an indulgement. Rushing to the Davenport Coffee Lounge (affectionately called "the Dav") before class, you might notice a limited-edition latte advertised on a cutely decorated chalkboard outside. This is where the cafe writes up its drink of the month, a dollar of whose proceeds always goes to charity.

It's an inventive and delicious way for this student-run business to give back.

What causes does the Dav support? What's the creative process of designing a new drink every four weeks? And which ones should you try before they're gone? I interviewed cafe management alongside their altruistic partners to find out.

Countless, Caffeinated Causes

The drink of the month program used to only benefit campus extracurricular groups. Manager Julia Ford changed that.

"I saw that there was a real need for this opportunity to raise funds for the [greater] DC community," Ford told SpoonU. "I think the Dav is a really special place, and I think we're in a really special position where we can have an impact."

Her team chooses the most popular seasonal drinks each month--for example, a peppermint mocha in December--to give the fundraisers a boost.

"It's probably one of my favorite parts of the job," Ford said.

Lemonade for World Peace

PeaceJam, an organization led by 14 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, aims to bring about world peace. This month, they're doing it by serving blue lemonade.

Masie Leifer, president of the AU chapter, aptly equated the sky-blue beverage to a blue raspberry Sour Patch Kid.

"I think it's delicious," she said.

Elliott Parrish

Leifer's group has partnered with the Kenyan Schoolhouse Project to fight child labor. Every blue lemonade sold will help that cause.

"One in ten children worldwide is in child labor," Leifer said. "What the Kenyan Schoolhouse does is prevent children from being exploited."

But why blue lemonade instead of, say, coffee or hot chocolate?

"There's no child labor involved in producing lemonade, as opposed to a lot of drinks that have coffee or cocoa products," she explained.

Fair enough. Suddenly my favorite mocha sounds a little less appealing.


Is plain, black coffee not sweet enough for you?

Then try adding steamed milk and cookie butter--a Nutella-like substance tasting vaguely of spice cookies--and you'll have yourself a Cookie Butter Latte.

This was the Dav's approach when partnering with the Indigenous Initiative. According to outreach coordinator Aalaya Gurram, their proceeds went to Sacred Lands, Native Hands, a similarly aligned advocacy and legal group.

The mission: to raise awareness of Indigenous cultures and representation.

"We have to educate others about not only the diversity within the Indigenous community, but the things that we need in order to support the Indigenous communities here," Gurram said.

This latte will help raise recognition for movements like #PeopleNotMascots and LANDBACK that the Initiative supports.

Elliott Parrish

"We thought it would be a wonderful idea," Gurram said. "I thought it was really good".

Being a nonprofit itself, the Dav has no obligation to flirt with philanthropy; running a coffee shop is a formidable enough task already. But the best acts of kindness forego logic.

Perhaps that same kindness will be the secret ingredient in your next latte.