A La Carte

Recoup launches first cause shopping channel

November 2, 2011

Technology entrepreneur by day, neighborhood volunteer by night, Georgetowner Luca Pivato dreamed up the idea behind Recoup while trying to invent creative ways to offer online service to community-based organizations looking to raise funds.

“Buy what you like, save what you want, support what you love, all with a single click.”

(Photo by: Recoup)

“Our vision is to make Recoup the hub in a new horizontal marketplace. It’s a new and easy way for businesses to support good causes and connect with people at a personal level,” says Recoup CEO and co-founder, Pivato.

Recoup has already forged relationships with over 60 national and local non-profits capable of reaching five million supporters, along with businesses united by the desire to connect with new customers in meaningful ways. A promotion can be simultaneously paired with different organizations in different states. Recoup tells its subscribers and its nonprofit partners about the promotion.

Businesses empower their customers to purchase a promotion on a product or service, make a tax-deductible contribution by donating part (or all) of the savings to a charity of choice, and have their donations matched by a sponsor—all in one transaction.

“Some retailers already offer consumers the opportunity to buy items that support good causes. But what if the cause selected by the business is not personally relevant to consumers? Would the business gain more favorability if it could support what matters to buyers? These are some of the questions that led us to create Recoup,” says Claudio Bazzichelli, COO and Recoup co-founder.  

Users and nonprofits can create an “instant fundraiser” by “flipping” the promotion to benefit their own personally-relevant cause (including their schools) and inviting their friends and supporters to participate.

(Photo by: Recoup)

Buyers have the opportunity to increase the guaranteed donation by converting part or all of the discount value into a tax-deductible contribution —even though they ultimately receive goods or services worth as much or more than they paid.  

Matching sponsors agree to double, triple, or quadruple donations made to an organization of their choosing, dramatically amplifying the social effect.

And showing its personal commitment, Recoup has pledged until the end of 2011 to match all donations to its non-profit partners that sign up a minimum of 100 supporters. 

Recoup is now open to thoughtful consumers.


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EXCLUSIVE: Inside PAUL Georgetown

October 30, 2011

Our town is about to get a whole lot sweeter.  That iconic French bakery in continuous operation for over 120 years, is opening next week near the corner of Wisconsin and M Streets. It will be PAUL’s second D.C. location after its Penn Quarter launch in May.

Klara and Laetitia Steinier welcome The Georgetown Dish to PAUL (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Klara and Laetitia Steinier welcome The Georgetown Dish to PAUL

Laetitia Steinier, marketing manager for PAUL USA, “We’re thrilled to finally be in Georgetown. With the red brick and low buildings, it’s a lot like Lille.”

Lille is the town in northern France where PAUL was born in 1889, coincidentally the same year their Georgetown bakery (formerly the kitchen of City Tavern Club) was constructed. Today, there’s a PAUL on every street corner in Lille, not to mention 350 PAUL bakeries in France and more than 150 PAUL bakeries internationally in 25 countries.

That’s one of the reasons Kene Izegu, PAUL pastry chef is excited.” I lived in France for three years and when I found out PAUL was coming to Washington, I had to be here.”

Macarons and pastries (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Macarons and pastries

Look for signature touches common to all PAUL bakeries: the hand-painted bread scene wall tiles, authentic provençal accessories, black and white checkered floors, and something a little different here. “There’s the ‘grab and go’ downstairs, but the main kitchen upstairs provides a unique dining experience for brunch and lunch,” says Steinier.  Not to mention the panoramic view from the restored window,  and infusion of light streaming in from the new sky ceiling.

Reproduction from Francis Holder's collection of bread art (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Reproduction from Francis Holder's collection of bread art

While your artesinal bread is baking, take a look around. You’ll notice all the paintings have a bread-making motif. Not by accident. They are all reproductions from PAUL founder, Francis Holder's original paintings. “He’s got the most important collection of bread art in Europe,” Steinier told The Georgetown Dish. With bread-making artifacts as well as paintings, Holder is planning to turn his collection into a museum.

The Dish was given a sneak preview Saturday morning when families were invited to a pre-opening pumpkin bread carving. Using 2 kilo (6 pound) sourdough giant muffin-shaped bread, young dough sculptors went to work.

Lisa Amore and Kene Izegu (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Lisa Amore and Kene Izegu

Lucas Ligouzat working on a bread pumpkin creation (Photo by: Jason Colston) Lucas Ligouzat working on a bread pumpkin creation

Casey Hanley with a PAUL to go (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Casey Hanley with a PAUL to go

PAUL pumpkin patch (Photo by: Jason Colston) PAUL pumpkin patch

Bread pumpkin carving class (Photo by: Jason Colston) Bread pumpkin carving class

PAUL (officially open the week of November 7) is located at 1078 Wisconsin Avenue.


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Gentile takes art under her Contemporary Wing

October 27, 2011

It wasn’t until 2009 when she brought Manifest Hope to Georgetown that I saw Lauren Gentile in action for the first time.  Shepard Fairey with his iconic ‘HOPE’ poster, the exhibition of 250 artists inspired by the Obama Inauguration, and a sold out show at 3333 M Street. Classic Gentile.

“Outside of Washington we’re known for galleries and museums. No one has ever taken advantage of the synergy between the two.” Over lunch at Puro Café, Gentile talks about her latest project. ”I want to make D.C. the go-to place for contemporary art nationally and internationally.”

On temporary loan to the American Embassy in Seoul, South Korea: Jiha Moon, Red Thornbird, 2007, Ink & acrylic on hanji paper, 10 x 10 in. (Photo by: Courtesy of Lauren Gentile, Washington, D.C.) On temporary loan to the American Embassy in Seoul, South Korea: Jiha Moon, Red Thornbird, 2007, Ink & acrylic on hanji paper, 10 x 10 in.

After considering a move to New York, Gentile decided to stay here and start her own gallery.

Founded to advance the work of emerging artists who will be defining American art in the next decade, Contemporary Wing opens November 3, 2011 with a soft launch of commissioned work in the space formerly occupied by Irvine Contemporary, which closed in August.

Why now? “A lot has changed in the art world since 2008, with the collapse of the financial markets. There’s a big fusion … of dealers, artists, educators, artsy events, and government, all these different platforms intersecting.”

Wherever business and art converge, Gentile is there. For six years as director of Irvine Contemporary under Martin Irvine, she placed exhibition art into private and corporate collections, curated major exhibitions, and, as a certified appraiser of fine and decorative arts and expert in the economics of the international art market, advised clients on their investments.

Lauren Gentile at Manifest Hope exhibition during Inauguration in Georgetown, Jan, 2009. (Photo by: Courtesy of Lauren Gentile, Washington, D.C.) Lauren Gentile at Manifest Hope exhibition during Inauguration in Georgetown, Jan, 2009.

She started collecting early. “I had a stamp collection as a kid.” Laughing, Gentile  also recalled unionizing her babysitter club. An Ohio native, at eight Gentile started her own newspaper called 'Brighton Road Press', sending her dad to Kinko’s, and charging customers a nickel a copy.

But it was Chicago dealer Floyd Bucheit, who opened art doors for the 21 year-old Gentile, introducing her to classical music and sushi, while she catalogued his world-class collection of Biedermeier furniture.

She studied art history, Italian, and German at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the University of Florence and the Goethe Institute. With an M.A. in art business from Sotheby’s Institute in London and B.A. degrees in art history and international studies from DePaul University in Chicago, Gentile was on to the private sector working with art hedge funds, auction houses and galleries.

“I’m the kind of dealer who knows how to get a great piece of work, one that fits perfectly with my client’s collection. I just put them in front of it.”

As her client base expands globally, Gentile's vision is simple. “I want to monetize creativity.”  Me too.

Barnaby Whitfield, The Prestige, 2007. Pastel on paper. 28.5 x 36 in. (Photo by: Courtesy of Lauren Gentile, Washington, D.C.) Barnaby Whitfield, The Prestige, 2007. Pastel on paper. 28.5 x 36 in.

Contemporary Wing’s first major exhibition, NEXT GENERATION, is planned for February 2012. Timed to complement the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s exhibition of the Rubell Family Collection, Contemporary Wing invited each artist represented in 30 Americans (31 contemporary African American artists of the last three decades) to identify one or two American artists working today who are "up and comers" of the next generation. 

Contemporary Wing is located at 1412 14th Street NW. Tel: 202.730.5037


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