Help your hood with CafeSmart


For the past 12 years, national campaign CafeSmart has helped hospitality venues and its coffee-loving patrons raise money to fight homelessness.

An initiative run by charity StreetSmart Australia, Partnerships Manager Cynthia Mac Caddon says CafeSmart helps funnel Australia’s love for coffee into a good cause.

“Although we’re a small organisation based in Melbourne, we have a national impact,” says Cynthia.

“We’re all about empowering local communities to raise funds and awareness for people experiencing homelessness.”

Founded in 2003, StreetSmart spreads its funds across a range of partners that work directly with locals to provide help on the ground. In Victoria, StreetSmart has contributed funds to more than 300 organisations, including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Melbourne City Mission.

“StreetSmart has achieved remarkable growth over the past three years, meaning our impact has trebled. This is especially thanks to the coffee industry’s support through fundraising campaigns that has enabled us to grow our audience,” Cynthia says.

Since its inception, StreetSmart has raised over $9.6 million for 950 homeless and community organisations across Australia.

“The reality of homelessness is very complex and takes a collective effort from both local communities and small businesses as well as the greater network and the government. For us, it’s not about the number, it’s about the impact, and the connections we’re forming are making a real difference, and contributing to reducing marginalised communities every day,” Cynthia says.

This year, La Marzocco Australia was a Principal Sponsor of the event, joining the likes of Vitasoy and media partners Broadsheet, BeanScene and the Melbourne International Coffee Expo to help up-scale the impact across the country.

More than 600 cafés participated in CafeSmart 2022, covering the country in the charity’s trademark yellow during Homelessness Week from 1 to 7 August. Cafés put up posters
and signs, encouraging customers to donate via a QR code. Cafés were also encouraged to wear yellow and decorate their café on the last Friday of the week.

“The café industry has helped CafeSmart raise close to $2 million just by donating $1 for every coffee sold on Friday 5 August,” Cynthia says.

StreetSmart Australia will map donations, ensuring funds stay in the same area where they were raised. Participants and generous donors will help fund vital services tackling homelessness, such as women’s refuges, medical outreach teams and youth services, and will also aid in providing emergency relief, meals, clothes, bedding, showers and much more to those in need.

After the height of the pandemic and devastating floods in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, donated funds are aimed around emergency relief efforts, material aid and support for people most at risk of homelessness.

“When we see organisations taking part and letting us know how they used the funds and how important it was for them, that’s the most rewarding part of my job,” Cynthia says.

For cafés and roasteries that are yet to sign up for CafeSmart 2023, Cynthia recommends getting involved now.

“We’re already taking expressions of interest on our website for CafeSmart 2023, so we welcome all roasters and cafés to join the event next year and help us continue to raise funds for marginalised communities,” Cynthia says.

“We really encourage cafés to sign up to show their customers they care for the local community and the disadvantaged people within
it. Support from cafés is crucial to providing funds for local, grassroot homeless charities.”

To be a part of this movement and support your local community, visit

This article appears in the MICE2022 Showguide. Subscribe HERE.

Send this to a friend