A word from our co-founders
Founder Scott Borger, Ph.D.
Breadcoin is an idea that is both new and old. It is both an innovation in how those in a community minister to each other and is also as ancient as the daily distribution of bread to the widow.
The Breadcoin food token connects. It connects those with food and those without. It connects those in our community with an abundance and those in our community with nothing. It connects those that grow our food with those who consume it.
We often forget the extensive network of individuals and businesses that work each day to ensure that we are fed. We forget it until something actually goes wrong.
I was living in a village in West Africa with my wife when there was a disruption in the capital city after an election. We had grown accustomed to the supplies provided by the daily transport that went back and forth from our village to the regional city. It wasn’t uncommon for us to share a meal with a friend in the village, but rarely had we been without an ability to get more supplies from the regional city. The villagers also were dependent upon the daily transport, though they were far more accustomed to providing for each other. We had much more money than the villagers, but in that moment of disruption in the supply chain, our money was worthless. We needed to rely on the villagers to provide for our basic needs. Now we were all in it together with our new reality, and those in our village made sure their American guests were fed.
After the financial crisis of 2008 when it became evident that the safety net for the most vulnerable was shrinking, I began to envision and create Breadcoin, which was intended as a network of people that could care for each other regardless of the economic climate. We are committed to bridging the rural and urban divide by celebrating the farmer, the trucker, the warehouse worker, and the vendor that each play a part in feeding us.
Our world finds itself in a similar predicament as the COVID-19 pandemic has us feeling a scarcity at our grocery stores, a scarcity that some in our communities feel all the time. Of course, that produces anxiety and doesn’t feel very good.
We recognize that our food network is increasingly limited in our low-income communities where “food deserts” have become a significant reality. By lending to food businesses in low-income communities with loans that can be paid back in Breadcoins, we are creating a new system of microfinance that can offer loans in areas where others cannot. This will further weave the frayed edges of our economic life back together and strengthen the fabric of our communities as we augment the network we depend upon for our human sustenance.
The use of the Breadcoin food token is creating new ways to meet the needs of the community. I hope that you will join the community response to hunger. Not only is it practical and tangible, but it changes hearts at a time when we may feel fearful and impotent. For those with an abundance, we avoid the mentality of scarcity and stockpiling as we participate in the practice of generosity. For those with little income, there is renewed hope as we support our local eateries with our business, using Breadcoins to meet our most basic of needs.
Breadcoin was created for such a time as this, and I’m grateful to be able to share it with you.
Co-founder Cary Umhau
It has been an incredible privilege to add my own energy and voice and perspective to Scott’s original (truly original) vision.
A cliché rather fits: our brains are two sides of the same coin, of Breadcoin as a nonprofit entity.
Our friendship was forged while serving dinner at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter, week after week, year after year. And over time we came to see that we both valued not only caring for those most struggling materially but that we also had vision and ideas around doing so in new and practical ways and facilitating others’ ability to do that.
My passion for Breadcoin as a tool stems from an idea attributed to Mother Teresa that we all say we care about the poor but that we often don’t know the names of any of the poor. That idea affected me deeply when I heard it, and it has informed my hope that Breadcoin can not only feed the hungry but also change the hearts and minds of those who truly care about those who are struggling but simply don’t find themselves proximate to poverty or hunger and thus don’t believe that they can be part of the solution. That’s not true.
The problems of this city, country, and world are so big. And each of us can only do so much.
Yet together we can actually do so much.
Now more than ever, we must.
I love helping people see that whether they are part of the on-the-ground neighborhood efforts or are across town, not close to actual material need, they can be part of caring for and feeding the hungry.