We launched in 2011 with a unique and innovative dream to create a community space of learning and action in the fight against human trafficking, and every year since we have passionately sought to use our resources through our nonprofit coffee shop to move this mission forward.
We have been so honored to serve the Houston community for almost 12 years. In that time, we have:
+ provided over 5,000 hours of employment to Brazen Table participants in our cafe
+ supported over 54 individuals since 2018 in culinary and job skills training
+ engaged in over 400 hours of case management and holistic support
+ given over $7,000 in direct financial support to vulnerable individuals in crisis
+ hosted over 400 human trafficking awareness events in our coffee shop
+ served over 100,000 customers and introduced them the anti-trafficking movement
Since our inception, we have operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with full IRS recognition and tax exemption, and maintained strict standards of integrity in alignment with nonprofit rules and regulations. In early 2022, we received notice of a standard organizational audit by the IRS. We fully complied with all requests for information, provided transparency in operations, and engaged external legal counsel to guide us throughout the process. Having recently undergone a transfer of Executive Leadership, we quickly developed strategic action plans and contingencies in conjunction with our Board of Directors to plan and account for all outcomes in order to best ensure continuity of our mission and work.
Despite the assistance of external legal counsel, the IRS returned an administrative decision to revoke our tax exemption status on the grounds that we do not meet the public support test, and they no longer consider our social enterprise structure to be in alignment with the standards for charitable entities.
Revenue-generating social enterprise structures, while an incredibly valuable way to fulfill a charitable purpose, are not yet consistently recognized by the IRS and guidelines around the operations of these entities are still being developed.
Simply put, we have consistently generated more revenue to fund our mission through sales than philanthropic gifts, and this is not favorable with regard to tax exemption.
Our leadership team and Board of Directors are working diligently together to determine what this means for the next steps of our organization and our coffee shop. As it stands today, we intend to continue operating the coffee shop and engaging in our mission in the ways that we have capacity to do so. Awareness and community collaboration is baked into our DNA, and we can continue to engage in much of the work we currently do as a business entity. We have every intention of regaining 501(c)(3) status in the future to allow our programs to operate at the scale and impact we have had. While there are likely many questions we will need to answer as we move forward, we are choosing to work out of integrity and keep our community transparently informed.
While donations are no longer tax-deductible, we do invite the community to continue supporting the critical work of educating, partnering, and providing in the fight against human trafficking by visiting the cafe, utilizing our catering, and shopping our consciously curated goods.
We will let you know our next steps, and will make every effort to answer any questions you may have. Please understand that there are many decisions to be made, and we are thoughtfully considering all options in front of us in order to ensure alignment with our mission, vision, and values.
Kathryn Rogers, Chief Mission Officer
Chasiti Mosely, Chief Executive Officer
Erica Raggett, Founder
Holly Hudley, Board Chair
Kimberly Williams, Board Secretary
Mary Harvey, Board Treasurer
Josh Hill, Board Member
Oriana Garcia-Durbin, Board Member