FAQs


What is Coffee Kids about?

Coffee Kids cultivates the power of coffee-producing communities to determine the terms of their future. We believe that coffee-farming families hold their own solutions to their problems. Coffee Kids helps community members to identify challenges and then partners with local nonprofits to develop grassroots projects that address these challenges. All projects respect the cultural integrity, intelligence and ingenuity of the people we serve.


Do you sell coffee?

No, Coffee Kids is dedicated to helping coffee-farming communities create more vibrant local economies. But many of our supporters sell coffee and more. Search our member database for a Coffee Kids member near you, and tell them we sent you!


What types of projects does Coffee Kids support?

We support grassroots projects primarily focused on providing coffee-farming families with consistent additional sources of food, income and basic services. Our program partners manage projects in the areas of economic diversification, education, health care, food security and capacity building.

We coordinate exchanges, called encuentros, among our partner organizations to encourage discourse and help them create new approaches to addressing common problems, thereby creating local and international support networks.

We also hold capacity building workshops to help our partner organizations become more sustainable.


Who coordinates Coffee Kids’ programs in the field?

Coffee Kids partners with organizations in the communities we serve. These organizations are our program partners. Our international program office in Oaxaca, Mexico, works with these program partners to train them to manage their own programs and ensure sustainability and future growth.


How does Coffee Kids define a successful project?

Our goal is to support projects that become self-sustaining and no longer require financial support from Coffee Kids to continue.

Coffee Kids has developed more than 50 performance and impact indicators based on international standards. We put emphasis on long-term support to ensure that our partners have time to create well-structured projects that truly serve the community. Partners who graduate from Coffee Kids remain in our network and serve as resources for other partners.


How did Coffee Kids begin?

Coffee Kids was founded in 1988 by Bill Fishbein, a specialty coffee roaster and retailer from Providence, R.I. While visiting coffee-growing communities in Guatemala in 1988, Fishbein was deeply affected by the poverty he witnessed and created Coffee Kids as a way to support the families that grow coffee.


How is Coffee Kids different from other development efforts in coffee-growing areas?

Coffee Kids, one of the first industry-specific nonprofits, believes that all projects must be community-based and founded on the principles of sustainability. We work in the world of coffee but do not sell or buy coffee. Coffee Kids has a deliberate and rigorous selection process for partner organizations to ensure that programs are sustainable, transparent and well-structured.


Where does Coffee Kids work?

Coffee Kids currently works in five countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Peru. More than 25,000 people in nearly 150 communities benefit from Coffee Kids programs each year.


What about other coffee-growing countries?

The poverty associated with coffee farming exists in almost every tropical country in the world. Coffee Kids would like to work with partners in more countries, but we are focused on developing well-run programs before expanding operations to other countries. With more funding, we can maintain the integrity of our programs and expand to other countries.


Does Coffee Kids engage in emergency and disaster relief work?

To the extent possible, we try to help when crises arise in the coffee-growing world. In 1998, in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, Coffee Kids was able to channel $17,500 in direct relief funds to communities in Nicaragua. Following the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in southern Asia, Coffee Kids raised more than $320,000 and formed a partnership with ForesTrade to provide much-needed disaster relief services to families in Sumatra’s coffee-growing region of Aceh. In 2005, Coffee Kids helped raise funds for coffee-growing communities in Guatemala and Mexico affected by Hurricane Stan.

However, our primary goal remains one of developing long-term, sustainable programs.


Can I volunteer for Coffee Kids?

Coffee Kids has several possible volunteer opportunities, depending on the needs of the moment. The first is project-related fieldwork, in which volunteers work directly with and exclusively under the direction of our program partners. This position requires advanced Spanish-speaking skills. The second option is to work out of either our Santa Fe or Oaxaca office helping in the areas of administration, communication and development of special projects.

If you are interested in volunteering in Oaxaca, please download the volunteer application and email it to International Program Director José Luis Zárate at joseluis@coffeekids.org.

Volunteer application

If you are interested in volunteering in the Santa Fe office or virtually, please contact us at info@coffeekids.org.

The third option is in support of our EU office, where we only have one staff member. We often need help with outreach and events.  If you are interested in helping advocate for Coffee Kids in the EU, please email elisa@coffeekids.org.


Can I donate supplies?

Coffee Kids does not organize drives for supplies; we supply communities with the funds and assistance necessary to create their own programs. But if you do have a sizeable contribution, please contact us.


What is Coffee Kids’ annual budget?

Coffee Kids has an annual budget of approximately $750,000.


What percentage of donations to Coffee Kids goes to program expenses?

The percentage varies year by year, but the average is 75 percent.


How is the organization funded?

As of June 30, 2011, business donations make up 81 percent of the budget, 7.5 percent from foundation grants, 7.8 percent from in-kind donations, 2.7 percent from individual donations, and .3 percent from merchandise sales. We receive no federal or state money.


Are donations to Coffee Kids tax-deductible?

Yes. Coffee Kids is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.


How much of my donation goes to programs?

When you designate your donation to go toward a specific project (at Supporter level and above), up to 15% of your donation may be used for administrative costs.


Does Coffee Kids undergo an annual audit?

Every year, Coffee Kids hires an independent firm to audit our financial records. Audited financial statements are available upon request or can be viewed here.


How many employees does Coffee Kids have?

Coffee Kids employs two full-time and two part-time staff in the US, two international program staff in the Oaxaca office and one full-time development liaison in the UK.