John and Jeanne Luther opened Sola Coffee Cafe in March 2012 with a vision to spread love, good eats, and quality coffee to the Raleigh community. Every year, the cozy neighborhood spot hosts a charity race called the Sola Hot Mini 5K, which has raised more than $500,000 to date. The 10th annual race is back on Saturday, Sept. 16 with an even bigger fundraising goal.
In 2018, Jeanne was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS. This shifted the 5K’s focus and philanthropic efforts to support those suffering with the progressive disease. Jeanne died after a four year battle with ALS in April 2022.
“We disperse the funds raised to a handful of organizations that we feel play a big role in one day finding a cure for ALS,” John told RALtoday.
This year’s goal is to surpass 2022’s $171,500 raised and 861 competitors — Sola hopes to drum up $200,000 this year for its local nonprofit partners.
From supporting other local businesses like Boulted Bread, Counter Culture Coffee, Split Acre Farm, Gonza Tacos y Tequila, and sourcing fresh produce from the State Farmers Market, Sola has served as a safe and supportive space for the community since its opening.
“I’ll come here on a sunny day and see all the tables filled with everybody talking, and there is an emotion that rolls over me just thinking ‘This is good,’” John said.
Show your support for the Sola family and those affected by ALS by donating, registering to volunteer or race, and by purchasing tickets to watch “Go On, Be Brave,” a documentary about Andrea’s journey as an athlete with ALS, at the Cinemark Bistro at 4840 Grove Barton Rd. on Thursday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 17.