The Café Femenino Foundation, named in honor of 464 courageous Peruvian women who made a decision to try to improve their own lives though their work in coffee production, was formed in December 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to provide grants to programs and projects that enhance the lives of women and their families in coffee-producing communities around the world.
The Foundation works within existing socioeconomic structures to foster change. Despite ongoing progress, gender inequality, poverty and abuse continue to be rampant in many coffee production regions. Although most women coffee producers participate in all farm activities, they have few rights and little voice when it comes to selling their coffee or making decisions on how the family income will be spent. With no control of income and very few options, these women hold out hope for a better life.
The Foundation helps promote the integration of women coffee farmers into social, political and occupational organizations by providing grants that help support the women’s efforts and enhance their status within the community. In doing so, the foundation is able to help improve the overall quality of life for the entire community and support a sustainable economic system.
The Foundation’s first grant was given to a coffee co-op located in the highlands of Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia to provide emergency relief, food and basic necessities following the devastating December 2004 earthquake and tsunami. Today the Café Femenino Foundation is receiving grant requests from numerous coffee groups and communities in many different countries. The problems in rural coffee communities in developing countries are many, encompassing health, education, social issues, economics and politics. But through the support of Coffee Fest, trade organizations, importers, roasters, retailers, coffee drinkers and the general public, the Foundation’s goal is to help fund annually as many of these grants requests as possible to worthy programs and projects around the world.
The Café Femenino Foundation works within the coffee industry to raise donations to fund the grant requests. The Foundation also works with communities, organizations, businesses and the general public in various fundraising activities to raise needed funds. The Foundation itself is all volunteer so that the maximum amount of funds raised goes to support the grant requests.