About Us

FoCo Cafe’s mission is to build community by providing nutritious and delicious meals to the people of Fort Collins regardless of their ability to pay while using mostly local, organic, and sustainably grown ingredients.

trust badges that read 100% non-profit, Volunteer sustained & supported, and Eco-Friendly using local & seasonal ingredients

FoCo Cafe is the first nonprofit restaurant in Fort Collins. Cafe patrons set the price for cafe cuisine in this pay-what-you-can setting. Instead of a cash register, a donation box is inside. If you can give more, please pay it forward. If you have a little less, pay what you can. If your pockets are empty, participate in the community with your time and talent in exchange for a mouth-watering meal.

About Us

Daily menu selections are made primarily using fresh, locally grown ingredients, and funded by donations. It is the intent of the FoCo Cafe to build a healthy community, and we have built our concept on the following values:

  • Every human innately has dignity and should be treated as such.
  • Every duty, volunteer or otherwise, has value.
  • Participating in a community nourishes the soul.
  • Everyone deserves to eat nutritional food.
  • All people need a hand-up at some point(s) in their lives.

Our History

Sometimes the best ideas are hatched while sharing a local beer with friends. A discussion of the amazing work being done by local nonprofits led FoCo Cafe’s cofounder Jeff to mention the idea of a nonprofit cafe. Kathleen replied that she had recently seen a news story about one in Denver – SAME Café.

At the time, Jeff was teaching, with a background in medicine and agricultural/food research and a passion for cooking. Kathleen was a Director of Communications at Colorado State University managing print, web, social media, and outreach efforts for the college. Jeff and Kathleen wanted to combine their experiences and passions into a setting that offered amazing food, a commitment to service, and building community at its center.

And so it began…an e-mail to SAME Café led to volunteering at that café within a week, which then led both Jeff and Kathleen to begin researching the need in Fort Collins. They began setting meetings with anyone and everyone in town. The overwhelmingly positive response pushed them forward.

Only months later, Jeff and Kathleen found their garage full of donated kitchen equipment, café tables, and chairs. Boxes of dishes would appear on their front porch, e-mails came in from people eager to volunteer, college students began working on key projects, professionals were offering valuable services at no cost; and this pay-what-you-can cafe became a reality, opening on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.

In 2017, Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner retired to Hawaii. They turned the reins over to their intern, Mallory Garneau. Mallory joined the FoCo Café team as an intern in August 2016 and became Executive Director in June 2017, after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Colorado State University. After 6 incredible years of service as Executive Director, Mallory decided to move on to the next chapter of her journey, and in February 2023, Dexter Beasley stepped into the Executive Director role after serving as Operations Manager beginning in August 2022. Dexter now oversees all FoCo Cafe operations.

Valentine's dinner taking place at cafe

Want to Use the Space?

You may arrange early morning or late afternoon meetings at FoCo Cafe. It’s an excellent venue for those looking to enjoy an intimate atmosphere with a unique mission. Give us a call if you would like to talk about using the space on a donation basis.

Contact Us