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Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge What is a Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge?

On January 24, 2006, Starbucks Coffee and the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary partnered to launch the Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge in the Delaware Valley/Central PA area. This grassroots program was designed to encourage lively and informal discussions during which a diverse range of civic-minded individuals—twenty-first century Ben Franklins—could share their thoughts on particular local issues and, most importantly, generate potential solutions. Between January and June 2006, volunteers organized thirty-four Coffeehouse Challenge meetings to discuss ways to improve their communities, from dog parks to mentoring schemes. At the end of each inaugural discussion, most Coffeehouse Challenge groups committed to regular meetings in order to turn their best ideas into reality. By the July 4 deadline, twenty-eight groups had submitted project proposals with ideas including creating a community map and founding a film society in an abandoned train station. On September 6, 2006, at The Coffeehouse Honors, Starbucks awarded $3000 each to the five most ingenious and practical plans proposed by Coffeehouse Challenge groups. The winning projects are the Interfaith Housing Alliance, the Fishtown Neighborhood Diaries, Beautifying South West Philadelphia, Reaching the Children of Prisoners, and the Community Cultural Exchange Facility. You can find out more about all the Coffeehouse Challenge proposals here.

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There are several ways for you to get involved:
Thought balloon You can see all twenty-seven Coffeehouse Challenge proposals here.
Thought balloon Click here for a full list of Coffeehouse Challenge meetings
Thought balloon Several Coffeehouse Challengers shared their thoughts about the project, and you can read their feedback here.
Thought balloon You can find out more about how the Coffeehouse Challenge worked by visiting the ORGANIZE a Coffeehouse Challenge page.
The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and Starbucks Coffee Company are partnering to present the Coffeehouse Challenge in the Delaware Valley/Central PA region.

The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary is a non-profit organization coordinating the national celebrations in honor of Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday (January 17, 2006) through a series of national programs and events, and an international traveling exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World. The Tercentenary’s goal throughout all of its projects and programs is to highlight Franklin’s contemporary relevance, so that all Americans may be inspired by his example. This project aims to recreate Ben Franklin’s special brew of civic generosity, by harnessing the power of collective action to bring lasting benefits to local communities.

Starbucks Coffee aims to make a positive difference in the communities where they operate, and values its role as a community meeting place. In fact, the coffeehouse has long been a place of debate and discussion; many of Franklin’s most valuable and ingenious ideas came out of sociable meetings in his local coffeehouse.

The Delaware Valley/Central PA region encompasses south-eastern Pennsylvania, from State College to the west to Dickson City in the north, and reaches as far as Princeton and Monroe in New Jersey, and Newark in Delaware.

The Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge was inspired by and modeled after the RSA Coffeehouse Challenge, an on-going project with RSA Fellows continuing to meet, network and develop ideas to address pressing issues. For more information about the RSA, visit

The Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge is sponsored by CBS3, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and

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© 2006 The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary • About | Proposals | Meetings | Feedback | Organize | Press | Ben Franklin 300