The Café Femenino Foundation was founded in 2004. Behind the impetus to create a foundation that was focused on helping women and their families in coffee communities was Garth and Gay Smith, who in 2004 were importing and selling organic and fair trade coffees from around the world. What they found in traveling to these remote coffee communities was women who had no voice or say in any family decisions, had no control of the family resources; essentially had no rights, socially, politically, or economically. They were poor, uneducated, and lived in isolation, all of which contributed to phenomenal rates of abuse. Though the Smith's no longer import coffee, they are still committed to the mission of helping coffee families around the world through the Café Femenino Foundation.
The foundation is a 501(c)3 IRS-licensed non-profit. The foundation is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. All of the funds the foundation raises, less operating expenses, go to fund grants that are submitted to the Café Femenino Foundation each year. All grants are overseen by the Café Femenino Foundation in cooperation with other non-governmental organizations or coffee co-operatives operating in the area where the grants are being funded. This method of operating with little or no expense has, over the years, proven to be the most practical use of funds that engages the aid of the help and support from the group of women, their families and communities that the grant serves. In this manner, the family and community are part of the process, and most times provide the needed labor to help build structures, or dig ditches for pipes in water projects, should that be what is needed by the grants.
The uniqueness of the Café Femenino Foundation is that it opens its ears and hearts to listen to what the needs are of these poor coffee families. This is why the foundation works through a grant request program. The foundation can review and support all types of needs, as opposed to just working to fund one particular need. It is also unique in the fact that it works directly with producers and other organization to oversee projects. This provides the opportunity to help in ever so many ways and in so many different countries. It also can provide the greatest amount of benefits to the greatest amount of people with the donations it receives.
The foundation has operated for almost fifteen years now. The foundation has funded all types of grants, from community gardens, animal breeding programs, health programs, sanitation programs, water projects, income diversification trainings, nutrition trainings, only to name a few. It has made a huge difference for coffee producers in over ten different countries.
The foundation is making a huge difference not only in the level of poverty, but also in elevating the value of women in these remote communities. It is reducing abuse levels, and it is calling attention to our industry as well as the coffee community itself, to the plight of women in coffee communities. The foundation depends on donations from within the coffee industry and every level in the coffee value chain. The foundation needs your support. Helping these poor families also elevates our industry through these community and family oriented projects funded by the Café Femenino Foundation. You can make an online donation, or perhaps your company might want to pick a grant that you want your funds restricted for. It is a way that some companies even market themselves to their customers.
We hope that you will share the story of the Café Femenino Foundation with others, as well as donate. Become a part of building a new future for our coffee families that are at the bottom of the coffee value chain.