Miami, FLORIDA – April 2nd, 2015 – Seeds for Progress Foundation, founded by the Mercon Coffee Group, has been selected to be the recipient of a Starbucks Foundation grant towards their Digital Seeds program. This program aims to improve the quality of education in primary schools in the coffee growing communities of Nicaragua. It currently supports more than 6,000 children in 17 schools. Thanks to Starbucks Foundation, the program is now receiving U$ 300,000.00 for a three year period, which will go towards eight of these schools in order to improve the reading, writing and math skills of 2,700 students through the use of new information, technology and innovative pedagogical practices.
Additionally, the project also aims to ameliorate school conditions by improving the hygiene and sanitation conditions in these facilities. Seeds for Progress Foundation firmly believes that this effort is key for the long-term sustainability of coffee farmers and their families in these areas.
“At Mercon, one of our most important social goals is to help the families of our coffee growing producers to reach a higher level of education. We are convinced that creating the right learning conditions will lead us to success. We want stronger and more prosperous coffee growing communities for future generations to come”, explained Oscar Sevilla, CEO of the Mercon Coffee Group.
This grant is part of Starbucks comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing. To date, Starbucks has contributed $15 million in social projects to support farming communities around the world. In 2014, the Starbucks Foundation granted more than $3.7 million to multiple organizations who help address relevant needs in specific communities. Each investment is targeted to create a sustained impact in a local community developing the necessary infrastructure to help support systemic, long term change.
Starbucks Commitment to Ethical Sourcing
Over the past 40 years, Starbucks has been dedicated to helping improve the lives of farmers and their families around the world who grow their coffee. Through a comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, Starbucks is paying equitable prices, providing access to farmer loans and technical assistance to help farmers navigate the complexities of agriculture—a long-term process. In total, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer programs and activities over the past 40 years. In 2015, Starbucks will achieve the goal of 99 percent of its coffee being verified as ethically sourced. Additional details about Starbucks initiatives in coffee and tea communities are available at Starbucks.com/Responsibility/
Mercon Coffee Group
Mercon Coffee Group, founded in 1952, is a leading coffee trading company with a strong commitment to its communities, clients, employees, shareholders and the environment. Part of the investment in sustainability has been centered on promoting the adoption of responsible agricultural practices among coffee growers in order to have a positive impact on their quality of life and on the environment. In 2013, the Mercon Coffee Group also reached an important milestone with the establishment of the Seeds for Progress Foundation, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, to improve the living standards of coffee communities in Nicaragua.
Seeds for Progress Foundation
Seeds for Progress Foundation, a member of the Mercon Coffee Group, is a 501 © (3) organization registered in the U.S. and Nicaragua. It was founded in 2013 as a mean to strengthen existing social programs implemented by Mercon/CISA Exportadora since 1999 in coffee communities of Nicaragua. Seeds for Progress´ mission is to improve the quality of education and health services in rural communities in the coffee regions of Nicaragua and other producing countries. The foundation benefits 6000 children and 3000 families in the coffee areas of Nicaragua and invested U$824k in health and education programs in 2014.