A University of Notre Dame student’s philanthropic class project will be put to the public test.
Launched on March 2, Mary Cornfield’s BlueBucket program partners local restaurants with five area nonprofits: Hannah’s House, Pet Refuge, Unity Gardens Inc., A Rosie Place and the Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion.
“Our original idea had been a restaurant that would be a buy one, get one model,” said Cornfield, co-founder and CEO. “So for every meal you ate, the restaurant would donate a meal. But we were worried that would have an upfront cost and that people would be picky with their food, so we didn’t think that was the way to go.”
Co-founders Alisha Anderson and Caitlin Crommett assisted Cornfield in re-working the original model. Now, participating restaurants designate certain menu items with a BlueBucket icon. Upon purchase of the items, patrons are able to direct a portion of each BlueBucket sale to the charity of their choice.
“We realized a big problem restaurants have is they get inundated with requests for donations, but they don’t have unlimited funds,” Cornfield said. “And they, at the same time, want to make sure they’re supporting the charities that are most important to their customers.”
The death of Father Theodore Hesburgh has delayed the involvement of Sorin’s and Rohr’s, both establishments within the Morris Inn on Notre Dame’s campus. Cornfield anticipates their engagement in the near future. Mishawaka’s Corndance Tavern is slated to join the list within the next few days.
If the program is well-received, Cornfield hopes to develop a mobile application for BlueBucket. For now, Cornfield waits as the public catches word.
“This is kind of testing the idea,” she said.