The United States-based coffee worker support nonprofit Go Fund Bean is ceasing operations, citing a lack of funding.
“Earlier this month the board of Go Fund Bean voted to dissolve the charity,” Go Fund Bean Executive Director Valorie Clark said in an Instagram announcement just before the new year. “Unfortunately we were just not able to fundraise enough to continue our mission in 2024.”
The organization, which was established during the 2020 pandemic era to help baristas who were out of work through cash grants, is offering one more round of grants prior to ceasing operations. Applications for the final Go Fund Bean grants are due Friday, January 26, with grants likely to be awarded in late February, Clark said.
In addition to providing grants to baristas and other hourly coffee workers who may be in need due to housing insecurity, natural disasters, sudden unemployment or other factors, Go Fund Bean previously created a coffee worker wage survey and maintained a mentorship program for budding coffee professionals.
The organization last year embarked on an outreach campaign with donors following an internal investigation in mid 2023 that uncovered the misappropriation of the thousands of dollars from the group’s disaster relief fund for personal use by a former member. Clark assumed the position of interim executive director in September of 2023.
“We are definitely worried about the gaps in support that this leaves for folks in coffee,” Clark told DCN via email when asked about the group’s dissolution. “We always hoped that we if we closed, it would be because employer-provided and government-provided safety nets had become more robust. We had hoped to advocate ourselves out of existence. That it’s happened this way instead has really taken a toll on the board, and we are worried about the future of hourly coffee professionals.”
Go Fund Bean’s most recently published wage survey, taken in 2022 and including data from 240 respondents, concluded that nearly half (49%) of hourly workers in the coffee retail and roasting industries “cannot comfortably pay their bills every month.”
In the statement to DCN, Clark said, “We sincerely hope that someone will rise from the ashes of GFB, so to speak, and be able to create something incredible that serves the coffee community.”
Comments? Questions? News to share? Contact DCN’s editors here.