Go Fund Bean is a 501c3 non-profit organization that seeks to “support, uplift, and defend the hourly coffee workers.” Created in March of 2020, during early part of the COVID-19 pandemic when mass shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders had many businesses—coffee shops included—closed for an extended period of time, Go Fund Bean helped raise funds to provide to hourly coffee professionals needing to make ends meet while they were unable to work. Since then, they have grown their programs to include grants, disaster relief funds, educational training, mental health assistance, even a book club.

Today, Go Fund Bean has announced new leadership, with Valorie Clark stepping in as Interim Executive Director. The change, which took place in August, comes with the revelation that tens of thousands of dollars from the Disaster Relief Fund have been misappropriated by a former member of the Go Fund Bean team.

Go Fund Bean will be holding public forums via Luma in the coming weeks to answer any questions folks may have. Below find the complete statement from Go Fund Bean, printed in full.

The statement reads:

As of August 2023, Go Fund Bean has new leadership. Former board member and Director of Marketing, Valorie Clark, has stepped into the Interim Executive Director position. Clark has been involved with Go Fund Bean since its inception in 2020, and worked as a barista for about seven years before shifting away from cafés. She was nominated to the Sprudge Twenty Class of 2022 for her work with Go Fund Bean.

This change in leadership is part of a shift in management after the Board of Directors discovered financial discrepancies related to the organization’s Disaster Relief Fund in May 2023. After a thorough investigation that lasted all summer, it was uncovered that someone at Go Fund Bean had misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars from our Disaster Relief Fund. After consulting our legal options, the organization parted ways with that person in September.

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The amount misappropriated represents less than 15% of the total amount raised for Disaster Relief since the fund’s inception in 2021. It is less than 8% of the total amount ever raised for Go Fund Bean. The lion’s share of money donated has gone to support hourly coffee workers. For instance, despite this misappropriation, we were able to help several hourly coffee workers impacted by the fires in Maui earlier this year.

Nevertheless, this is a devastating loss. It was a betrayal of our mission to support, uplift, and defend hourly coffee workers. When we uncovered the loss, we acted with the most compassion we could for the person responsible. We gave them multiple opportunities to explain themselves and help rectify the situation. As of right now, no effort has been made on their part to right these wrongs, but GFB is making every effort to recover this money.

In addition to new leadership, Go Fund Bean has created new oversight protocols to help prevent this from happening again. Major donors have been alerted to the investigation and results. Clark and other board members will also be holding public forums for the public to ask questions related to this investigation and the future of Go Fund Bean. Dates for those public forums:

  • Monday October 9 8 am PT/11 am ET/4 pm GMT

  • Tuesday October 10 12 pm PT/3 pm ET/8 pm GMT*

  • Thursday October 17 4 pm PT/7 pm ET/midnight GMT

*This session will be recorded for anyone who is unable to attend live.

Link to join: https://lu.ma/mc1pfi40

Right now is a moment for rebuilding trust with our community. We believe that Go Fund Bean still has an important role to play in our industry and we look forward to having discussions about how we can best continue our mission.

The public is invited to bring questions to the public forums or to email them to info@gofundbean.org 

This story is developing…

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.