The Chicago Journal

Your Gateway to the Heartbeat of Chicago

Shifting Our Mindset From “Charity” To “Opportunity” With Business Owners Amy & Ben Wright

Shifting Our Mindset From “Charity” To “Opportunity” With Business Owners Amy & Ben Wright
Photo Courtesy: Bitty & Beau’s Coffee

What if we adopt a ‘social profit’ mindset instead of always using ‘charity’ and ‘non-profit’? For co-founders Amy and Ben Wright, their trailblazing business, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, aims to do just that.

Negative societal attitudes towards people with disabilities have been a persistent issue, with deeply ingrained socio-cultural prejudices posing significant obstacles – especially as it relates to employment.

There is a pressing need to dismantle these barriers and encourage a more inclusive and compassionate society that values diversity and celebrates every individual’s unique strengths and talents.

With 80% of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) unemployed in the United States, a growing concern to change the statistic is more evident than ever.

As loving parents of four children—two of whom have Down Syndrome {Bitty and Beau} and one with autism {Lillie}, co-founders of the Bitty & Beau’s Coffee brand, Amy and Ben Wright decided to take the future of their loved ones into their own hands.

Together, they created a unique establishment that provides a safe and inclusive work environment for the IDD community and more.

From congenital to acquired disabilities, “the focus of our business is to put people with disabilities to work,” explains the duo. “And we’d love to see more entrepreneurs follow in our footsteps as any organization can open its doors to people with disabilities as they are a winning, competitive advantage – an edge that breaks barriers and throws the phrase “charity case” on its head.”

“Charity is nice—right? But we’ve got to move beyond that, or they’ll be stuck there forever,” says Ben Wright.

With a radically inclusive environment, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee may have sprouted its first seedlings in 2016 back in their hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. But the growth and success rate of the shop has only since blossomed.

In the years that followed, Amy Wright was named 2017 CNN Hero of the Year, and with 700k+ social followers, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, GMA, Rachael Ray, People, Southern Living, and Harvard Business Review..

With 400+ employees with disabilities in 18 shops across 11 states and the District of Columbia {with another five openings this year}, it’s safe to say that Amy and Ben Wright’s business model is changing the way people see other people. At the organization, individuals are not only valued but given opportunities to work meaningfully and contribute to society. 

“We’ve learned that everybody learns differently,” shares Amy Wright. “So you have to have a variety of ways to train. So I think it’s a matter of meeting people where they are for who they are and having the courage, creativity and commitment to help them be successful in their work.”

For this reason, companies must make a conscious effort to expand their talent pool by including people with disabilities in their workforce. 

By doing so, organizations can create a more inclusive and innovative workplace culture by embracing the diverse perspectives and experiences of individuals with IDD.

From increased diversity and creativity to improved productivity and employee morale, the benefits of having a neurodiverse workforce are genuinely limitless. It can also create a more inclusive culture and promote a sense of social responsibility within the organization.

“We have to stop looking at people with disabilities as charity cases, and begin to pull them into society as real human beings who simply operate differently.” says Ben Wright.

He continues, “The business community is uniquely positioned to innovate around this population of potential workers. In fact, there have even been studies highlighting the net pickup across all types of business and business operations strata when people with disabilities are included in the workplace.” 

At Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, you’ll find more than just delicious coffee. You’ll discover a place that inspires you to intentionally include individuals with disabilities in all aspects of your life.

Thanks to the trailblazers, Amy & Ben Wright, the world has the opportunity to change the way people see people with disabilities – one cup of coffee at a time.

To learn more about Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, visit their website: Or, to find a location near you, join us on their journey by clicking here.


Published By: Aize Perez

Share this article


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of The Chicago Journal.