Nick Bayer & Saxbys
Everyday Philanthropist

Nick Bayer, Founder & CEO of Saxbys.

What is your company's mission or values statement?

Our mission at Saxbys is to “Make Life Better,” for our team, our guests, and the communities we serve. That mission is supported by our core values that our team strives to uphold every day:

  • We are a Community Serving our Community
  • Embrace being O.D.D. (Outgoing, Detail Oriented, and Disciplined)
  • Loyalty + Profitability = Growth
  • Live with Pride, Passion and Purpose
  • Serve Yourself by Serving Others
  • Care Personally and Communicate Openly

What’re 3 organizations or causes people should know about in 2019?

  1. The Fast Fund by Sara Goldrick-Rab.
  2. United Way. In Philadelphia, we suffer from entrenched and worsening poverty...As such, the United Way’s recent move to exclusively focus on decreasing our poverty level by 10 percentage points over the next ten years is extremely important.
  3. Saxbys Experiential Learning Program. With the rampant growth of technology - such as VR, AR, machine learning, etc. - the ability for human beings to engage with one another and master power skills (emotional intelligence, critical thinking, cultural agility, etc.) is greater today than ever before. Experiential learning - learning by doing - is critical, especially in higher education. Saxbys Experiential Learning Program, which supports the development of these vital skills, is growing rapidly and supports institutions of higher education committed to their students and graduates’ success post-college.

If you look at philanthropy as social currency - contributing not only dollars but your time and talent, how have you made philanthropy a part of your everyday life?

I think the most critical thing is to get involved only in the missions and organizations about which you care most deeply. This was a hard lesson for me to learn--I tried to be involved in too many causes and therefore made very little impact in any of them. When I realized I most passionate about providing opportunity and education for young people - and said yes to organizations committed to that mission and no to those that didn’t - my effectiveness and time, treasure, and talent mixture started to really make a difference.

Has an act of philanthropy ever changed your life? (done by you, for you, in front of you)

The Cornell Tradition Fellowship: I wouldn’t have been able to go to, stay enrolled, or graduate from Cornell if it wasn’t for the Tradition Fellowship. But just as importantly, in order to continue receiving the Fellowship you had to maintain a certain GPA (i.e., do well in the classroom), work certain hours for a company (i.e., learn to multi-task and contribute to the finances of your education), and do a material amount of community service (i.e., be committed to doing well for others). Those 3 pillars to the Fellowship - academic success, hard work, and philanthropy - prepared me for life more than anything else. Saxbys’ endowed scholarship programs at the Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University are modeled after the Cornell Tradition Fellowship.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a difference, but isn’t sure where to start?

Identify and rally around what makes your heart race.

What is something people might not know about the cause you’re devoted to?

As the first person in my family to go to college, I had to find, borrow and ultimately repay every dollar spent on my education, and it took me 15 years to fully pay off my college education...And I’m so grateful it was as difficult as it was because it makes me value the process and my degree that much more.

Why is it important to your company to give back?

I started a business to give back. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for some teachers and coaches in my life who kicked me in the butt, kept me from feeling sorry for myself, and challenged me to work as hard as I could create a great future for myself. Therefore, I wanted to start a business so I could provide those types of opportunities for many others.
In the modern economy, if you want to attract talent and consumers, your brand better stand for something far greater than simply making money for a small group of people. It’s simply good business to give back.

What advice would you give to a company who wants to make a difference, but isn’t sure where to start?

As a leader, what are you most passionate about? You’ll naturally attract people with similar passions. Align your impact with what your business naturally does - as Saxbys has done with social impact through the operation of cafes.

Image Credit: Taylor Leonardo

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