Posts By This Author

God's Garden: Church-based Community Agriculture

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 03-18-2009
Meet Stephen Bartlett, an urban gardener and educator in Louisville, Kentucky.

Plain Profundities

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 11-01-2003
Richard Shindell sings a good story.

On Fertile Ground

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 11-01-2003

The Food Project grows vegetables, relationship, and justice in the suburb and the city.

Where the Boys Aren't

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 11-01-2002

Why do so many more women than men enter voluntary service?

Cuppa Joe, With a Twist

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 05-01-2002
Pura Vida coffee—like most companies—goes after profits, but what happens next is hardly ordinary.

It is a morning ritual for thousands of Americans, a gateway into the day, the warm cup over which they connect with others. But for drinkers of Pura Vida, that cup of coffee is also a ray of hope for at-risk children in the impoverished and struggling neighborhoods of San Jose, Costa Rica, and across the United States.

While some socially responsible businesses are able to boast a charity- or justice-oriented mission that grows out of their established consumer base, Pura Vida is an example of a for-profit business that was developed explicitly to support a religious and social mission.

In Spanish, "Pura Vida" has a double meaning. In street parlance, it means "cool," "awesome," or "great." But it also translates as "pure life" in English. Founders John Sage and Chris Dearnley seek to embody both meanings in the company's products, marketing, and social justice activities.

Pura Vida was founded in 1997 by Sage and Dearnley, who had met 10 years earlier when they both joined the Graduate School Christian Fellowship at Harvard Business School. After graduation, the two went their separate ways—Sage to work for Microsoft and into the high-tech start-up world and Dearnley first into business consulting and then, in 1995 after becoming an ordained minister, to Costa Rica, where he started a Vineyard church.

But the business school friends stayed in close contact, each looking forward to their annual get-togethers. In July 1997, relaxing by the pool after a round of golf in San Diego, Dearnley found himself telling Sage about the work he was doing in San Jose with at-risk youth, providing meals for the hungry and reaching out to struggling children. The work was rewarding but the group was financially strapped, Dearnley reported.

A Few of My Favorite Things

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 05-01-2002

Moving toward the end of the Year of Sept. 11, my favorite things are books and music with insight into life's big picture, the meaning of the journey that we're all on

Bosses for a Living Wage

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 01-01-2001
While initially costing a company more in wages, a living wage stimulates an "upward spiral" of indirect benefits to the company.

What's Right With This Picture?

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 01-01-2001
Some of the wealthiest people in America are seeking justice instead of tax shelters.

Best-Kept Secret

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 07-01-2000

Feared by some, welcomed by others, charitable choice might transform social services in this country. So why have so few people even heard of it?

A Resurrection of Campus Activism

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi 09-01-1999
From sit-ins against sweatshops to lobbying against religious persecution, many students today are proving themselves to be anything but apathetic.