can redeem to adopt a puffin.
Another take on this is to save endangered humans. Shaman Chocolates was
developed to provide an income for the Huichol, a small tribe living in central
western Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains, who are said to be the last tribe
in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions. Shaman
Chocolates gives all the profit back to the tribe, providing continuing economic
support that enables the Huichols to live in their traditional ways rather than
have to work for major agribusinesses.
Developing countries also have gender
equality issues and thus many
companies reach out to women
specifically. Elan Organic Coffee
has helped women on many levels
including supporting a cooperative of Nicaraguan war widows,
Soppexcca, by purchasing and
promoting their coffee in North
America and helping create busi- Zaroff, Founder of Under the Canopy, at a women’s edu-
ness empowerment training for cation function in India.
women coffee growers in Columbia. Elan also helped fund the first Finca micro-loan bank for women in Cooperativa La Voz Que Clama en El Desierto of
Guatemala, resulting in a successful weaving cooperative.
“Improving the status of women is widely recognized as one of the most effective strategies for addressing other challenges facing communities around the
world today,” said Karen Cebreros, owner of Elan and co-founder of the
International Women’s Coffee
Alliance. “When women are fully
involved, benefits can be seen immediately. Families are healthier because
they are better fed and their income,
savings and investments go up.”
For women in these countries, it’s
about providing opportunities which
socially or economically may have not
been available. Sometimes it’s just
about offering a way to earn an
income. To give women a way to support themselves, yet still care for their
children, Numi Tea started a program
where women can assemble bamboo
items from home.
Sometimes it’s about empowering
women beyond just making a living
wage. Working with farmers in India,
Marci Zaroff, founder of Under the
Canopy, discovered that many girls are
denied the opportunity to go to
school because families simply can’t
afford it. The family may pay for the
boys to go, but schooling for girls in
many developing countries is consid-
Partnering with Non-Profits
There are many ways that companies can partner with non-profit organizations.
Steaz (Healthy Beverage Company) sources much of their green tea from Sri Lanka, and
so when the tsunami hit in 2004, Steaz wanted to do something to rebuild the community. So they got creative and found a way to raise over $100,000 to help victims of the
natural disaster, in part by auctioning off celebrity-designed cans of their product. They then worked with
the Sri Lanka Foundation to build homes for those who
lost theirs in the disaster.
Another way to give back is by committing a portion
of your proceeds to a good cause. Since they were
founded in 1997, Peace Cereal has been donating 10 percent of proceeds in the form of annual grants to peaceful organizations and has now honored more than 50
groups, donating more than $1 million. Their sister
company, Yogi Tea, also donated 10 percent of their
Women’s Formula to The Breast Cancer Research Fund
and has contributed over $20,000 so far.
In regards to finding a non-profit to work with, Jean
Weidemann, founder of the Jean Weidemann Foundation has brought together many
non-profits and businesses, working with organizations ranging from the World Bank to
UNICEF and the Jane Goodall Foundation. She offers these tips:
• Link only with an organization that has thoroughly assessed the needs of the
beneficiaries it intends to help.
• Look for an organization that shares
your values, vision and goals.
• Agree on objectives from the outset
and know what strengths each partner
can bring to the table to help achieve
• Build trust and transparency so that
the corporation and the NGO feel
confident in each other’s integrity.
• Develop evaluation instruments right
from the outset of the collaboration.
• Enter into an agreement that is mutually beneficial and based on joint risk
and joint investment.
• Have an end-point in mind to ensure
steady progress toward objectives.
• Develop local capacity to ensure sustainability when the partnership ends.
• Be sure the organization has a good
track record, expertise and contacts in
the country where the collaboration is
to take place.