Serving Coffee, Serving Others

By Bill Murray, NCA President and CEO

In a year that has been so challenging, every little bit helps, especially for those who need that help the most.

Photo via @JaniceDean on Twitter

That’s why I’m so proud that NCA members are doing a lot more than a little bit to help others – in their own communities and around the world. In fact, over the past few months NCA has been fortunate to share in some of the amazing initiatives brought forward by our members and partners. We, in turn, would like to share these initiatives with the broader coffee community to inspire others.

At our most recent NCA board meeting, Willy Foote of Root Capital (NCA’s Coffee Charity of The Year) shared his organization’s commitment to growing agricultural enterprises that support smallholder farmers, especially seeking out businesses whose credit needs are too big for microfinance, but too small or risky for commercial banks.

Root Capital loans range from $200,000 to $2 million and are specially tailored to coffee farmers’ unique harvest and sales cycles. Root Capital also provides customized training to strengthen enterprises’ financial management skills and agronomic capacity. It is an honor to recognize organizations like Root Capital through NCA’s member-funded Coffee Charity of the Year program.

Each year we also hold an Annual Day of Service during our Convention. While we couldn’t be together in Music City for the Convention this year, we were proud to work with Chef Deb Paquette of Etch Restaurant in Nashville, TN to donate 200 meals to frontline emergency and medical responders.

We also made modest donations to the organizations featured in our 2020 Charity Showcase – just a small token to support their work and help keep our collective “shoulder to the wheel,” so to speak. The organizations in our 2021 Charity Showcase have been chosen because we believe in their mission, outcomes, governance, and financial practices. We support them, and we hope you will, too.

There is always more to do, and our work is focused not only on charity but on contributing to truly equitable and sustainable development that will ensure coffee farmers can thrive. Because there simply is no coffee industry without thriving coffee farmers.

In addition to supporting the work of organizations like Root Capital, NCA has been active in providing coffee stakeholders’ views through initiatives like the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Food Security Strategy and Feed the Future program. Coffee is a key part of the agricultural economy in many developing countries, and supporting coffee farmers should be part of all strategies to advance coffee growing communities’ futures, strengthen food security, and advance stability.

You can learn more about how coffee fits in the world’s sustainable future by exploring NCA members’ contributions in our Sustainability Showcase and also by exploring the ambitious goals established in Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge. Together, we are committed to making coffee the world’s first truly sustainable agricultural commodity. And if you feel inspired, make a donation, large or small, to any of the organizations in our showcase – you’ll be helping a good cause.

Lastly, after a year of challenges both personal and professional, NCA wanted to recognize those organizations and individuals who stepped up to help their communities.  Our #NCAYearOfService initiative sought to highlight coffee companies big and small that helped fuel frontline workers to fight the pandemic, deliver meals to local hospitals, make charitable donations, and more. We also were happy to honor our Volunteer of the year, Ellen Jordan of Global Grounds, for giving so much of her time and many resources to coffee and the NCA Science Leadership Council; and Jonathan Feuer of LMZ Soluble Coffee, Inc., for his long track record of distinguished leadership in the industry and the Association.

NCA:  We Serve Coffee – through the generosity and commitment of our members. 

2021 Charity of the Year Award Winner

Root Capital- Origin Charity of the Year

Root Capital invests in the growth of agricultural enterprises that support smallholder farmers, seeking out businesses whose credit needs are too big for microfinance and too small or risky for commercial banks. Root Capital loans range from $200,000 to $2 million and are specially tailored to coffee farmers’ unique harvest and sales cycles. Root Capital also provides customized training to strengthen farmers’ financial management skills and agronomic capacity.

Past winners of the Origin Charity of the Year Award include TechnoServe (2020 winner) The Coffee Trust (2019 winner) and Grounds for Health (2018 winner).

Enveritas Inc. & Strategies for International Development (SID) — Charity of the Year finalists

Other NCA Charity Showcase Organizations include:

•           ECOM Foundation for the Development of Origin Resources

•           Elevate Nepal, Inc.

•           Enveritas Inc. – Finalist – 2021 NCA Origin Charity of the Year

•           Food 4 Farmers

•           Grounds For Health

•           International Women’s Coffee Alliance

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