‘Soul Searching’ Helps The Roasterie Narrow Charitable Focus

Like many business owners, Danny O’Neill is committed to giving back to the community. But the founder of The Roasterie admits “it’s just not feasible” to help everyone.

Still, he and his employees have donated products and volunteer time to a variety of efforts since he founded the company in 1993. He says the spirit of giving is ingrained in Kansas City.

“It’s truly a privilege to be in a city that’s focused on philanthropy,” O’Neill said. “Community involvement isn’t an option for us, it’s a way of doing business.”

As the company has matured, O’Neill said, “Team Roasterie has done some serious soul searching and landed on the cause that tugs our heartstrings every time: children. They are the future.”

The focus of the company’s efforts are Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

A vacation brainstorming session led O’Neill to his most recent philanthropic endeavor: a six-day ride to the Arctic Circle on his BMW R1200GS dual sport motorcycle for Variety KC, which provides adaptive equipment to children with developmental disabilities. O’Neill recalled a conversation with the organization’s executive director, Deb Weibrecht.

“Deb explained that the world is pretty much built for healthy kids without mobility issues. Her organization works with kids who live in a world that isn’t built for them,” he said.

O’Neill’s goal was to raise enough money to purchase 10 custom adaptive bikes, which cost about $2,500 each and are not covered by insurance. The response was humbling, he said.

“The awesome people of Kansas City donated enough that Deb could order 12 bikes for kids who might not otherwise have a chance to experience the exhilaration of riding a bike,” he said. “Seeing the kids’ faces when we presented them with their very own bikes last October reinforced to me—and Team Roasterie—the power of being charitable.”