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Our ongoing community and social development mission is to build and enrich New Zealand communities and whānau, and we believe that others will join us on that mission. Our belief is in the inherent goodness of humanity, and the existence of generosity in each and every single person. We see a need in people to support those around them, in ways both big and small, that must be catered to in the everyday world, and this is beginning to happen more and more often.

Generosity Around the World

A café in Santa Monica, a museum in San Francisco, and the Real Junk Food project in the UK are all examples of a Pay-It-Forward business model, where customers are offered services in exchange for paying any amount of money they desire. Many people expected this approach to fail, but in many cases, it has led to thriving business as well as a growing sense of community.

In one particular example – Metro Café in Santa Monica USA. The café found their earnings came even with their usual level in the first month they used Pay-it-Forward payment. The café is connected to the Metro Church of Santa Monica, and the idea was originally only meant to last for 30 days, but once they realised what was happening, they just continued. Pastor of the Church and owner of the café Steve Snook bases his business model on a community focus, he says. “We want to run a good business but we don’t just make it about the bottom line. It’s about community and collaboration.” The café remains a well-frequented spot in Santa Monica.

What Can We Do?

The focus of our work is building strong, interconnected communities that support everyone within them. The chance to let our community show their generosity towards others is exactly the demonstration that we need to shift the social climate towards more actions that follow this vein.

Merge Café, similar to the Metro Café, charges as little as humanly possible and allows customers to pay it forward. Every dollar raised helps Lifewise end homelessness, and so far we have seen a lot of success with the café! Now we’re taking it bigger.

Our Pay-It-Forward Fundraiser

This March, we are holding the Merge Café’s Special Italian Dinner Fundraiser, where the funds raised will go towards funding the café as well as the community. On March 7th our generous guests will enjoy a night of warm candlelight, excellent music and great food. A five-course Italian menu awaits our guests, worth approximately $35 each meal. There is no set price! In fact, some of our generous diners have donated as much as $100 for their meal. This Pay-As-You-Feel event is a fabulous opportunity to contribute to your community and to have a fantastic night while doing it. You can help us change the world, one meal at a time.

Want to know more?

If you would like more information about the next Merge Cafe event, the services Lifewise offers, or if you would like to donate to help us along our journey of enriching our communities, please contact us.