For the past 10 years, MDA families have benefited from a potent, if nontraditional, ally in their fight to end ALS: coffee.
Yes, the seemingly simple beverage that millions of people across the country rely on each morning to start their days has helped raise nearly $2 million for ALS research and family support services. This is thanks to the incredible generosity, enthusiasm and spirit of Dutch Bros. Coffee.
Based in Grants Pass, Ore., Dutch Bros. has more than 260 drive-thru coffee stands in the western United States, including in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Founded in 1992 by dairy farmer brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, the company is “all about being positive and lovin’ life,” according to its website.
That optimistic outlook helped the company deal with founder Dane’s ALS diagnosis in 2005. In true Dutch Bros. fashion, the community rallied to launch “Drink One for Dane” Day in partnership with MDA. In 2007, its first year, Dutch Bros. raised $54,000. In 2015, “Drink One for Dane” Day proceeds had increased nearly tenfold to more than $507,000.
This year’s event, the tenth “Drink One for Dane” collaboration, is scheduled for May 6, 2016, and promises to be even bigger. “It’s hard to believe it has been ten years and we hope everyone will join us to make this the best year yet,” said Dutch Bros. cofounder Travis Boersma.
Although Dane passed away in 2009, his memory lives on. “His spirit is present daily and everyone, whether they knew him personally or not, feels it,” says Jennifer Wheatley, director of Dutch Bros.’s Love Abounds Foundation.
“Dane is referred to as the Wiseman at Dutch Bros.,” Wheatley continues, and he “inspire(s) everyone at Dutch Bros. to give their all, love every person they encounter and do more for others than for themselves,” according to the company’s web site.
Dane’s love of life and generous spirit also resound in the immeasurable impact that Dutch Bros.’s combined $1.7 million contribution has had on ALS research, support services and advocacy.
“As the Boersmas understand, and in watching others face the realities of this disease, it is paramount that families have access to high-quality support and services,” says Wheatley. “But even more important to us is the work that is going on to identify treatments that could arrest the progression of symptoms and ultimately cure ALS. We would love to see the day when we can celebrate the end of this disease and take on a new challenge.”
Dutch Bros. chose MDA to be its partner in the fight because of the size and scope of our commitment to freeing individuals, and the families who love them, from the harmful effects of muscle-debilitating diseases.
The world leader in funding ALS research and services, MDA does more than any other organization to fight ALS. Since 1950, MDA has invested more than $150 million in research projects in the hopes of finding treatments and eventually cures. Each year, more than 12,000 patients living with ALS receive expert care at one of 43 MDA ALS Care Centers located throughout the country.
“We’re able to support the best of the best in neuromuscular disease research thanks to the generous support of Dutch Bros.,” says Grace Pavlath, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Scientific Program Director with MDA. “It’s with their steadfast support that MDA can continue to fund the research that will turn the hope for breakthroughs into reality.”
Wondering what to expect when you head out for your White Chocolate Mocha or a Blended Dutch Freeze on May 6? “Drink One for Dane” Day is, first and foremost, a party, says Wheatley. “That’s what Dane thought a coffee shop should feel like daily. There are lines everywhere and it’s an all hands on deck moment for the company.”
“Broistas,” as the enthusiastic and friendly coffee sellers are known, compete to design the best donation jar and decorate their stands to reflect the festive atmosphere.
“Everyone has on their ‘Drink One for Dane’ shirts and everyone is focused on raising funds and supporting families that are facing this disease,” Wheatley says.
“It’s an amazing day,” says Oregon MDA Executive Director Amy Ward. “MDA is so grateful to be a part of this incredible celebration. We couldn’t ask for better and more generous partners than Dutch Bros., their employees and their customers.”
Far from being a day of mourning, instead it’s a day for celebration, to honor the life of the Wiseman and to connect customers to the Dutch Bros. philosophy of “Love abounds.”
“All in all it’s a positive day, filled with positive energy that supports such important work,” says Wheatley.
To find a Dutch Bros. location near you, visit www.dutchbros.com/locations.