Jonah Engler, the intrepid coffee lover, and philanthropist, recently found himself wondering if our favorite morning drink blends in with the business of charity. In other words, has the term “giving back” found its way into the financial statements of your average coffee enterprise?
His research yielded excellent results. The following is a summation of our discussions held just a few short weeks ago at the awesome Brooklyn Roasting Company.
In the hands of a coffee lover like Jonah, a fun conversation is easy to be had. Our talk reinforced my feel for coffee, and how it intertwines people around the globe. As I listened to the fruits of his research, I felt an overwhelming sense of the inherent good in people…
His findings were endless, but my space is limited, so I took snippets from his favorite five. Here is a bit about each:
Grounds and Hounds Coffee Co.
Jordan Karcher found himself falling in love with a malnourished dalmatian after stumbling upon a dog rescue and adoption center. He quickly realized the overwhelming costs associated with running a dog rescue center. Jordan set out with his new family member, Molly, to find a way to give back. Thus, Grounds and Hounds Coffee Co. (GHC) was founded to help support the efforts of dog rescue centers around the country. Every transaction has 20% of the proceeds go towards animal rescue centers. The company sells a variety of items from clever phrases on shirts to numerous types of coffee. Jordan said, “Wake, Brew, Rescue, Repeat” is the essence of how he feels and wants everyone to feel the same. The coffee is obtained through farmers that use sustainable and natural farming techniques. Grounds and Hounds go above and beyond to ensure the coffee you are drinking tastes perfect. Jordan personally ensures, “that you get a special boost from giving and not just from the caffeine!” when purchasing from Grounds and Hounds Coffee Co.
Cozzee is an Atlanta, GA startup, hence the name, founded by an eclectic Garry Williams. With a unique proposition, Cozzee allows the consumer to pick the cause their money will go to. The causes include water, food, clothing, shelter, health, restoration, and justice.
Unlike many other charitable organizations, Cozzee donates nearly 100% of the proceeds to causes you choose. When asked why, Garry said: “Because people matter and that is what we are all about here” “Cozzee prizes the social impact of its’ efforts above making substantial profits” the model Cozzee uses is truly unique in the charitable world and will likely create a large impact on future entrepreneurs on how they approach creating a non-profit organization.
Grounds for Health
Founded by Dan Cox and Dr. Francis Fote in 1996, Grounds for Health (GFH) is a unique non-profit that does not produce or sell coffee itself but utilizes large coffee companies as a source for its cause. GFH is about providing healthcare services to women living in coffee growing communities. The communities visited by the founders of GFH had the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world. Cervical cancer, when caught early, is seen as a preventable disease; however, the local communities at the time had no screening efforts in place. “Women from all walks of life are no different, some just have access to health services” stated Ellen Starr, Executive Director. “The goal is to provide women appropriate cervical cancer screenings within the coffee growing communities. Screening women on coffee farms ensure they stay healthy” GFH may not be a typical non-profit, their unique model and approach will be an essential aspect for future non-profit ventures that include individuals with helpful technical skills.
Three Avocados Coffee
To most of us in the world, we do not need to worry about where our next may come from or if the water you drink will kill you. In other areas of the world, the ladder is an everyday reality for those less fortunate. Three Avocados coffee is a non-profit founded by Joe Koenig in 2010 to combat the global water crisis by beginning in Uganda. Joe says “Imagine struggling every morning just to get clean water. That is why we do what we do” The unique name comes from a story where a woman literally gave everything, she had so others can eat and gave, you guessed it, three avocados. The company sells 100% Arabica coffee beans grown in Mt. Elgon, Uganda. Some of the same locations their clean water initiatives take place. Three Avocados takes additional effort in its process and ensures a sustainable product and supply chain is achieved through partnerships. “Maintaining a transparent supply chain ensures the viability of our products” The care a devotion taken by Joe and his organization makes stands out from other similar organizations. They are raising the bar when it comes to great tasting coffee and ethical methods of practice from “source to cup to recipient.”
Birds and Bees Coffee
Birds & Bees Coffee has a unique approach to sustainable coffee growing operations. Coffee farming habits in South America have drastically diminished habitats for birds among other animals. Birds & Bees Coffee is combating a large number of coffee growers that utilize an expanse of fields to grow their coffee. “The large fields offer nothing of benefit, but profits to large coffee companies,” says Bill Wilson. “Growing sun coffee in fields effectively increases water use, reduces the biodiversity of wild animals, and increases pesticide use” Birds & Bees coffee aims to combat these issues by incentivizing farmers to grow coffee in forested areas, which increases benefits for every living creature involved. “Approximately 36% of coffee producing farms are natural shaded environments” leading to an increased demand for unfavorable production conditions for workers. Birds and Bees Coffee is truly a unique endeavor which will hopefully garner more attention by entrepreneurs to tackle similar issues in other avenues. “More complicated ideas require consistency in education to get the right consumers,” Bill says.