Seeds for Progress Foundation and Starbucks Foundation: Improving the quality of education in coffee growing communities in Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua – August 24, 2015 – Seeds for Progress Foundation, founded by the Mercon Coffee Group, in collaboration with Starbucks Foundation, has improved the quality of education in primary schools in the coffee growing communities of Nicaragua through the Digital Seeds Program. This program 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. During its first phase of implementation, U$100,000.00 where used towards 8 of these schools in order to improve the reading, writing and math skills of over 1,700 students through the use of new information, technology and innovative pedagogical practices.

The Digital Seeds Program, which was developed by the Graduate School of Education from the University of Pennsylvania, is based on coaching and collaborating integrally with the educational community (Ministry of Education, teachers, parents, etc.) through a working model based on learning from experiences at the local level. Digital Seeds seeks to apply creative methodologies to construct meaningful learning that is appropriate and useful in the lives of children in primary schools.

This past August 13th, Corey duBrowa, senior vice president of Global Communications at Starbucks and Rosa Rivas, Executive Director of Seeds for Progress, visited Las Colinas School in Jinotega for the official launch and announcement of the this alliance, alongside students, teachers, families and community leaders.

“We are proud to have the Starbucks Foundation as partners in order to improve literacy and math skills of students and pedagogical practices of teachers”, Rosa Rivas, Executive Director of the Seeds for Progress Foundation, commented on the program’s impact.

“Starbucks has a long history of supporting pathways to opportunity for young people in the communities we serve,” said Corey duBrowa, Starbucks senior vice president of Global Communications, during a recent visit to Las Colinas School in Managua. “We are proud to support organizations like Seeds for Progress that are finding ways to use technology to catalyze improvements in education for children in coffee growing communities. Starbucks has been sourcing coffee from Nicaragua for more than a decade and we want to continue to support farmers and their families to make sure they can thrive for generations to come.”

Additionally, the project also aims to improve the hygiene and sanitation conditions of the schools in the program. 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.

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

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 (c) (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.

For further information on this release readers should contact: Alejandra Rodriguez-

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