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26-Year-Old Nonprofit Coffee Kids to Suspend Programming Beginning Jan. 1

coffee kids

Coffee Kids photo. From a sustainable farming program in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Coffee Kids, the nonprofit that has for 26 years been working to improve the lives and livelihoods of coffee farming families, has announced it is suspending programming at the end of this year, while it looks for a new organization with which to merge.

“The Board of Directors and staff are completely committed to the mission of Coffee Kids and are thus hopeful that another organization will take on our work,” Coffee Kids President Mike Ebert said in an announcement published late last night. “We believe that supporting coffee communities as they solve their own most pressing social problems is the best way to build a more resilient coffee supply chain.”

Throughout the years, Coffee Kids has been largely funded by private businesses within the specialty coffee industry, leveraging fundraisers, short- and long-term partnerships, and other grassroots fundraising tactics.

With an office based in Chicago, the group maintains numerous projects in Latin America, typically in partnership with coffee cooperatives or other community groups focused on some aspect of health care, education, economic diversification, food security or capacity building. Coffee Kids’ 2013 annual report says its programs supported 30,000 individuals in 136 coffee farming communities.

In last night’s announcement, Ebert cited “long-standing financial challenges” as an impediment to Coffee Kids’ mission. Here’s more from the group’s Board of Directors:

The Board has determined that while Coffee Kids partner organizations at origin are implementing projects that have a transformative impact on coffee-producing communities, it is clear that our current business model is no longer sustainable and will not allows us to adequately support these projects moving forward.

Coffee Kids Board, staff and project partners are grateful for the support they have received over the past 26 years. To continue to be good stewards of donor money while supporting impactful projects at origin, the Board will explore options for merging with another organization working with, or interested in working with, coffee-growing communities.



Andy Newbom

Wow! sad indeed. I was working on a program to support them this year via IPCoffes. Hopefully we can still do it.

Rich Westerfield

I have no idea what their finances are, but I’m surprised at this news. Having owned a coffeehouse for seven years and as both a contributor and a fundraiser for CK, I guess I just assumed most direct trade coffeehouses and roasters were supporting it. Maybe they weren’t, or maybe it’s just not enough. Either way, sad news.

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