The Starbucks Foundation Partners With Grounds For Health To Improve Women’s Health


Grounds for Health is thrilled to announce that it is the recipient of a two-year $175,000 grant from The Starbucks Foundation to help expand cervical cancer prevention programs in the Sidama, Gedeo and West Guji Zones of Ethiopia. This grant represents the first time Grounds for Health—an international non-profit health organization headquartered in Williston, Vermont—has received funding from The Starbucks Foundation, which has provided over $21 million in Origin Grants to support integrated community development projects since 2005.

“From day one, Grounds for Health’s sole focus has been to improve women’s lives in under-resourced coffee region, “ says Grounds for Health Executive Director Ellen Starr. “This generous grant from The Starbucks Foundation helps lay the foundation to make a real, tangible impact in Ethiopia not only for the next two years, but for many years to come.”

Since 2015, Grounds for Health has screened close to 40,000 and treated more than 3,600 women for cervical pre-cancer in their Ethiopia program. Thanks to the commitment of The Starbucks Foundation, Grounds for Health will be able to reach even more up ahead.

The grant will help support a new project for Grounds for Health: forming six innovative “Centers of Excellence” in Sidama, Gedeo, and West Guji Zones. These centers will act as training sites as well as demonstration hubs for key health sector stakeholders. In partnership with the Ethiopian health system, the centers will promote best practices in cervical cancer prevention and work towards countrywide adaptation of these life-saving methods. It is estimated that the “Centers of Excellence” will help Grounds for Health reach more than 15,000 women in Ethiopia in the coming years. Work on this project will begin in 2020.

The Starbucks Foundation Origin Grants build off a long history of investment in coffee, tea and cocoa producing communities to address their most critical needs, with a recognition that an investment in women and girls leads to greater impact for families and communities as a whole. The Starbucks Foundation has a goal to empower 250,000 women and girls in origin communities by 2025.

The “Centers of Excellence” will also give Grounds for Health the opportunity to introduce an innovative treatment technology to Ethiopia called thermal ablation. It is less expensive, easier to transport, and better tolerated by women than the technology currently in use.

The Starbucks Foundation’s Origin Grant joins a significant legacy of generosity from the coffee industry that has been the backbone of Grounds for Health’s work for over twenty years. “It doesn’t take a miracle worker to make a difference in cervical cancer prevention in Ethiopia,” shares Dagmawi Iyasu, Grounds for Health’s Program Director in Africa. “The technology and infrastructure, joined with the positive will of the coffee world, will help ensure that Ethiopians have swift access to this critical improvement in successful treatment, thereby helping women in the hardest to reach coffee regions.”

About Grounds for Health:

Grounds for Health helps develop and implement cervical pre-cancer screening and treatment programs within the public health system in the low resource settings where coffee is grown. Local clinicians and community health promotors are given the clinical and educational skills necessary in reducing the likelihood of death from this preventable disease in their communities. Since 1996, Grounds for Health has developed programs in Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Tanzania, and currently has programs in Kenya and Ethiopia. For more information, go to:

About The Starbucks Foundation

Established in 1997, The Starbucks Foundation strengthens communities around the world by advancing opportunities for youth, veterans, refugees and coffee, tea and cocoa farmers and their families, supporting communities affected by disaster, and promoting civic engagement. The Starbucks Foundation is a U.S. 501 (c)(3) charitable organization under U.S. law, and receives funding primarily from Starbucks Corporation and private donations. Learn more at

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