"It’s just been great knowing and having a long term relationship with Kate. She really understands where we have been and also now, where we are going. We have really felt that NAF has our back, and is really fighting for us and believes in us. That is very important."

Chris Fischbach, Publisher at Coffee House Press

Coffee House Press is a nationally acclaimed nonprofit literary arts publisher. Established in 1984, Coffee House Press started with a small budget and a small staff. Today CHP is a $1 million organization. Their growth spurt happened in two stages – one was becoming a $500,000 organization and the next was becoming a $1M organization. Nonprofits Assistance Fund and Coffee House Press have been partners from the beginning, weathering through leadership changes, the recession and now the ever-changing literary technologies. While the bridge loans and lines of credit have been helpful to manage cash flow, Publisher Chris Fischbach reflects that the education and advice Kate Barr has provided over the years are what have made the biggest difference.

In order to grow and survive, CHP has had to adjust their business model many times over the years. Eventually they found that sweet spot, operating like a hybrid of small business and nonprofit. “We are in a transition where we are becoming more than a traditional publisher that only prints books. We are becoming an organization that designs and produces literary experiences. Publishing books is one way we can fulfill our mission, but it's not the only way," Chris reports.

As a way to use their mission to help others fulfill their goals, Coffee House Press is partnering with the local libraries to create a comprehensive literary experience. This partnership allows them to connect writers and readers directly while serving their community.  It’s a win-win partnership. New initiatives like this one are ways that CHP is able to shift to more of a programmatic business model. The next goal will be to figure out ways for their programming to feed back into their publishing to create a full mission circle. It is both a challenge and an opportunity that Chris Fischbach is excited about.

Photo Credit: Coffee House Press