Lisa Miccolis, founder of The Monkey and the Elephant, is one step closer to opening her own permanent cafe and helping out more former foster youth in Philadelphia gain life skills with a $15,000 grant from Women’s Way.
Miccolis announced last week that she has received the Women’s Way and Women for Social Innovation’s Turning Point Prize, a $15,000 grant given annually to an emerging social innovator who develops a creative and entrepreneurial solution to a difficult problem affecting women, girls, and families.
“We need significant funding to get this whole thing off the ground, and every little bit helps,” Miccolis said. “For this particular grant, what I pitched to them was a pilot program, so we’ll be able to bring on two youth to work eight hours a week within our current capacity here.”
The Monkey and the Elephant began in November 2012 as a pop-up cafe in the Italian Market at Taffet’s Bakery, as a way to employ former foster youth: not only to provide them with income, but also teach them life skills. Since then, Miccolis has brought Monkey and the Elephant to a few other pop-up locations, including The Transfer Station (which closed a few weeks ago) and Impact Hub, where she is currently located Tuesday through Thursday.
The Monkey and the Elephant started the pilot program by teaching customer service skills, personal financial management and how to brew coffee to the youth. Miccolis said the Monkey and the Elephant was looking to expand the program to include nutritional education as well, something the grant could help them do.
Ultimately, Miccolis hopes to open a brick and mortar coffee shop where she’ll be able to sell in-house baked goods.
“We ultimately want to have a brick and mortar location, no more pop ups — as fun as they are,” Miccolis said.
Being able to do baked goods in-house would do two things for Monkey and the Elephant, according to Miccolis. It would set them apart from other coffee shops in the city and allow for more training and employment opportunities for youth. It would also give them the opportunity to work with about 10-15 youth in the shop.
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Overview of The Monkey and the Elephant:-30-
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