Breaking tonight in a coordinated press release and social media announcement at 10pm PST, Coffee Kids–a coffee-specifc non-profit NGO supporting a wide variety of projects at origin–have announced their impending suspension of programming after 26 years in operation. The announcement message (titled “Saying goodbye after 26 years” on Facebook) declares that Coffee Kids will end operations on December 31st, 2014, at which point the organization will “search for an appropriate organization with which to merge.”

A 501 (3) tax-exempt organization, Coffee Kids was almost entirely funded by business donations, drawing broad support from across the global coffee business community for projects in Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. As per the organization’s FAQ, “25,000 people in nearly 150 communities benefit from Coffee Kids programs each year.” The NGO made public its annual external audits, archived here. Projects in the field were wide-ranging; everything from a community butcher shop in Mexico to education against gender violence in Peru were funded by Coffee Kids.

The full statement from Coffee Kids is excerpted below:

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For 26 years Coffee Kids has partnered with coffee-growing communities to improve the lives and livelihoods of coffee-farming families. We have been dedicated to supporting communities as they build their own vision of healthy, resilient communities.

After serious deliberation, the Coffee Kids Board has decided to suspend programming, effective December 31, 2014. We will then search for an appropriate organization with which to merge. Understanding the time-sensitive nature of the situation, the deadline for this merger will be the end of the first quarter of 2015.

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. 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.

In the coming weeks, we will reach out to our donors and supporters. If you would like to speak with someone about this decision you may contact Board President Mike Ebert. If you would like to know how to continue supporting coffee-farming families, you may contact Executive Director Rebecca Singer


Mike Ebert, Coffee Kids President

In 2013 produced a “looking back” feature to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Coffee Kids, in which we interviewed past president Mike Ferguson. His words then remain prescient today:

“In general terms, I am proud of Coffee Kids for chasing the mission and not the money. There are always sources of more funding if you are willing to reshape your purpose to fit that money, or make changes to your methodology. Coffee Kids is not gringo-forward. We are not sitting up north deciding what coffee growing communities need.

We listen to the communities and let them tell us what is needed. There is always someone willing to fund what they think is needed, usually something that will look good next to their name. Coffee Kids has remained true to its methodology.”

For more, visit the official Coffee Kids website.
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