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Putting the "Tea" in Charity

This tea-selling duo knows the joys of making money--and then giving it away.

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This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If corporate greed depresses you, then you need to meet Jay Frost, 38, and his wife, Yuko Iida Frost, 44, nonprofit careerists turned entrepreneurs. Since its founding in December 1999, their Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, Thousand Cranes Tea (named for the birds that symbolize health and longevity), has been giving 10 percent of its sales to a different charity every month. If profits were down, and their business could have used that extra 10 percent, too bad. But good for charities like American Rivers and Operation Smile, a nonprofit providing reconstructive surgery to children and young adults with facial deformities.

Why did you leave the nonprofit sector to start your own business?

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