Blog : 900 Degrees of Giving Back to the Community

By Katelyn | Dec 5, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

The award-winning 900 Degrees Neopolitan Pizzerias restaurants in Manchester and Epping have already gained recognition for consumer popularity and for leadership in green business practices. But owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau said that giving back to the community has been a core of the business she started in 2007 and the program of Raising Dough has been a success that has benefited hundreds of large and small organizations.

“The main reason we started it is that it’s wonderful to connect with people who support 900 Degrees everyday,” Lane-Rondeau said. “It’s one of the cool things about owning a restaurant, the ability to give back to the community on a whole new level.”

Recently, 900 Degrees hosted an evening fund-raiser in Epping for the Mark Kay Foundation, the national organization which was founded in 1996 and dedicated to eliminating women’s cancers and domestic abuse. The organization has awarded more than $60 million to various programs over the past two decades. Though the 900 Degrees proceeds for the event were modest in comparison, Lane-Rondeau said that the reasons for all the events boil down to simple formula.

“We raise awareness and money for great causes and our customers have a great time and a great meal,” she said. “So many groups have reached out to us and they are usually over the moon with how the events have turned out. They have really taken charge with publicity and spreading the word.”

The “great causes” have been numerous and diverse. A regular Monday night event led to a portion of the proceeds going to support the band at Central High School in Manchester while other events have benefited the American Heart Association. She said 900 Degrees was humbled and proud to hold a 100 percent of the proceeds fundraiser for the family of slain Brentwood police officer Stephen Arkell in 2014.

Sharon Richert and her family also held a fund raiser for her husband Michael to help defray costs for his cancer treatment. Sharon is a school teacher and Michael a nurse and they have two sons. Sharon Richert said Lane-Rondeau was a family friend and the 900 Degrees staff helped make the event a very special evening for her family.

“It was awesome and we were really fortunate to have a lot of people looking out for us,” Sharon said. “We created an online poster graphic and shared it on Facebook and spread the word online. We couldn’t believe how many people came to show their support.”

900 Degrees has been lauded multiple times for the quality of its food and its popularity with the public. 900 Degrees was an Editor’s Choice Winner on Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England. 900 Degrees is a Business Partner of the Green Alliance, the Portsmouth organization which connects more than 100 regional green businesses with more than 4,000 green consumers. It was no surprise that it was the first restaurant in the New Hampshire Sustainable Lodging and Restaurant Program to be named an Environmental Champion.

Lane-Rondeau says growing up on a small “Gentleman’s farm” in New Hampshire – with carefully tended gardens, beloved livestock, and a distinctly do-it-yourself grounding – nurtured her steadfast commitment to quality food, a green ethos and community outreach. They are all key components part of her evolving business model.

“People want to help but they sometimes don’t know what to do or feel real helpless,” she explained. “What’s so cool is that people tell me it’s like having a huge living room and it’s a great way for them to come together and support each other. For us, it’s just the right thing to do.”

Click here to learn more about 900 Degrees.