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

Photo Recap: NCA 2019 Day of Service

How Coffee Gives Back to the Local Community

The annual Coffee Gives Back Day of Service may have been the most labor-intensive portion for attendees at the NCA 2019 Convention – but it was also the most fun.

Hosted by Jolly Elementary, outside of Atlanta, GA, the (waitlist-only) event was led by the NCA Next Generation Council in partnership with Network Volunteers.

From painting to planting to power-washing, volunteers pitched in to help with much-needed school beautification and maintenance projects. (One overwhelmed teacher shared that she and her husband had been working on weekends and spending their own money to make classroom repairs.)

In one afternoon, the NCA team made the kind of progress only possible when a committed (and well-caffeinated) community comes together for a common cause.

Here are a few highlights from the NCA 2019 Coffee Gives Back Day of Service:

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How to Empower Coffee Communities to Thrive

Inside the community-driven mission of The Coffee Trust, NCA 2019 Origin Charity of the Year

The National Coffee Association recognized The Coffee Trust as the recipient of the 2019 NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award, sponsored by Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, during the NCA 2019 Annual Convention in Atlanta.

Two Award finalists – meriting special mention – were Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc. and Strategies for International Development.

[Read the NCA News release and visit the NCA Coffee Charity Showcase to learn more.]

Here, Bill Fishbein, The Coffee Trust Founder and Executive Director, explains from the field what makes this organization so special – and how they are happily working themselves our of jobs in communities at origin.

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Coffee Gives Back: Showcase Spotlight

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Applications for the NCA 2019 Origin Charity of the Year Award are due December 10. Learn more

By William, (Bill) Murray, NCA CEO & President
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Now more than ever, our communities and neighbors could use a helping hand. In the coffee industry, our community crosses borders with our supply chain, and giving back is no longer optional.

Here at the National Coffee Association (NCA), we decided about a year ago that – rather than starting yet one more program to help others – we were uniquely positioned to help in a different way.

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Video: Community Coffee’s Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts


It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolina coast. In the storm’s devastating wake, communities across the southeastern United States are still struggling with flooding, wastewater, and access to basic supplies.

During difficult times, small things can mean the most. That’s why the Community Coffee team, in partnership with organizations like The Salvation Army USA, USO of North Carolina, American Red Cross, and Harris Teeter,  has served 16,000 cups of coffee to first responders and victims of Hurricane Florence to date.

“Good or bad, everyone loved sharing stories over a hot cup of Community coffee,” says Sean Kirby, Field Manager.

Watch the video below:

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Join the American Red Cross Specialty Coffee Professionals Donation Team


Help track our industry’s life-saving impact.

By Spencer Turer, Coffee Enterprises


The coffee industry has recognized programs which support social responsibility, environmental stewardship, health issues, gender initiatives, women coffee producers, and sustainable communities at origin — often through the support of companies both large and small.

Here’s an opportunity to help the coffee industry make a big impact, as just one individual.

The American Red Cross is most familiar for their disaster relief services and regular blood drives.  Through a coordinated effort (and the wonders of technology), the coffee industry can support a national campaign which provides benefits in our local communities.

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How One Coffee Company Is Empowering Positive Change at Origin

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The following post is an edited excerpt of contend provided by Volcafe. Volcafe is an NCA member company. (Learn more about contributing guest blog posts to National Coffee.) 

Visit the NCA Coffee Gives Back Charity Showcase to learn more about how NCA members are working to support coffee communities at origin. 

Child labor is a big problem in some of the poorer areas of Uganda, which includes coffee producing communities. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution.

Any resolution demands a dedicated, sustained effort. It must get to the root cause of the problem and improve the economic viability of households so that parents can afford to let their children attend school.

Some coffee companies are choosing step up and take action to empower positive change at origin.

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International Women’s Coffee Alliance Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary: Looking Back and Moving Forward


By IWCA Co-Founders Melissa Pugash and Margaret SwallowIWCA logo

This is a year in which businesses and nonprofits are reviewing and reimagining the roles that women play within their organizations. As co-founders, we’re pleased that the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) was a pioneer in bringing the role of women in our industry into the national and global spotlight.

In that spirit, the ICO announced that “Women in Coffee” is the theme for International Coffee Day 2018 on October 1.

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Now Live: Grounds for Health Coffee Auction Supporting Women’s Health at Origin


Proceeds from the #GFHAuction will support cervical cancer screenings and treatment for women coffee farmers and communities at origin (Photo: Grounds for Health)

Calling all roasters (and retailers): Bid on green coffee & equipment now through June 7

The following post was originally published on the Grounds for Health blog

In 2009, we created the Grounds for Health Auction to give the specialty coffee community a meaningful way to give back to origin.

We hoped it would last at least a year or two …

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How a Nonprofit Is Fighting “One of the Great Inequities in Health Care” For Women Coffee Producers

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Photo: Grounds for Health via Evan Gilman, @evan.gilman

Supporting Coffee Communities at Origin: Q&A with Grounds For Health, the 2018 NCA Origin Charity of The Year Award Winner

The National Coffee Association is proud to recognize Grounds For Health as the first-ever recipient of the NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award, for their work providing cervical cancer screenings and treatment for women working in the coffeelands. The 2018 award is generously sponsored by Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, and was presented by Michael Gaviña, NCA Chair, on March 16 at the NCA 2018 Annual Convention in New Orleans.

NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award Winner

The NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award is part of the NCA Coffee Gives Back Showcase & Award Program, to recognize the outstanding impact of nonprofits dedicated to supporting coffee communities at origin. (Learn more about NCA Coffee Gives Back Showcase & Award eligibility and application requirements.)

“Our work in the coffee regions of Latin American and East Africa has been supported in great measure by the coffee industry,” says Ellen Starr, Executive Director, Grounds for Health, in the NCA news release. “Our relationship demonstrates just how much social change can be achieved when an industry fundamentally cares about its people at every step of the supply chain.”

Here, Star discusses what it’s like treating one of the greatest health care inequities facing developing nations, her experience working with the coffee community, and how the organization is scaling up. 

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