Members of the Movement: New Grounds Food

At buildOn, we celebrate the creative and adventurous steps that members of the buildOn movement take to support education and service at home and abroad. Our “Members of the Movement” series highlights the vital work these supporters are doing to help empower youth and end the education crisis.

As freshmen at Northeastern University in Boston, Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari could never find the time to wake up with a cup of coffee before they headed to their 8:00 a.m. finance class. Hurrying to class one morning they wondered to each other, “What if we could just eat our coffee?”

Fast forward three years and Johnny and Ali are now owners and operators of New Grounds Food, a company that makes CoffeeBars, a snack with a cup of coffee in every bar. Inspired by a talk from buildOn Founder and CEO Jim Ziolkowski at Northeastern’s Social Enterprise Institute, the two young entrepreneurs found an opportunity to put their burgeoning business to use supporting a cause they believe in. Today, New Grounds is partnering with the buildOn Chapter at Northeastern University to raise money to build schools in developing countries and support local youth service in Boston.

“We have always strove for our product to have an impact on the world, and hearing Jim speak was extremely inspirational for us. His passion and drive comes out in every word and we knew we wanted to be a part of the buildOn movement,” says Ali.

Starting a business hasn’t been easy, especially while balancing a full course load, but Johnny and Ali are dedicated to building a successful business that makes a difference in the world. They’ve won a competition for young entrepreneurs, moved from their dorm kitchen to a certified kitchen, launched a Kickstarter and have been busy lining up vendors. As their business grows, the New Grounds team is determined to help break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations with buildOn. They’re currently raising funds and awareness for buildOn through the Boston Marathon and New Grounds’ “We Run on Coffee” campaign.

“Our goal for New Grounds is that every bar we sell has an impact on someone else in the U.S. or abroad, from helping students receive a school in Nicaragua to the programming at CASH High School in Boston,” says Ali.

We celebrate Johnny, Ali and the entire New Grounds crew for their passionate support and dedicated commitment to the buildOn movement in Boston and around the world. You can learn more about New Grounds and buy their delicious CoffeeBars at, and you can support their effort to raise money for buildOn by running the Boston Marathon at