How we work
Our mission is to improve the life chances of boys and girls in coffee growing communities by providing the opportunity of a safe, quality education and our vision is to eradicate poverty in coffee growing communities.
How we make a difference
- Building new schools or extending existing ones
- Furnishing the new buildings
- Investing in water supplies
- Providing electricity
- Providing computers
- Developing land for families to grow crops
- Building teacher accommodation
- Building latrines
The Costa Foundation could not change lives without our delivery partners. We work with each of our partners very closely to deliver against our promises on every single project. We supply the means, but our partners make it happen.
Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. Ltd
Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. Ltd is a global commodity trading and processing company predominantly specializing in coffee, cocoa and cotton in major producing and consuming countries. We work with the Costa Foundation in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Peru. Ecom started its first sustainable community projects in Mexico and Central America, to support farmers, in 1999, working together with demanding clients and respected NGOs. In the 15 years since those initial efforts, Ecom export companies around the world have developed considerable in-house capabilities to train and support farmers and to help improve the economic, social, environmental and health conditions of coffee growers and their families. It is with great pride that Ecom has partnered with the Costa Foundation to build the Dar Sar Kindergarten in the Lac Duong District of Vietnam.
Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia
In 1927 the Colombian coffee growers organized themselves to create an institution that would represent them both nationally and internationally, defend their rights and seek ways to improve their quality of life. The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) is a non-profit and politically independent organization. As the foremost coffee association in Colombia, FNC is present in every rural region where coffee is grown. Its work revolves around the coffee growers and their families ensuring Colombian Coffee is grown in a sustainable manner, strengthening common interests within coffee-growing communities while positioning Colombian Coffee as the best coffee in the world. FNC and COSTA Foundation promote quality education in the Colombian rural areas to improve welfare and peace conditions for the farmer families, in collaboration with local authorities and communities.
Imagine 1 Day
Founded in 2007 by Chip and Shannon Wilson, Imagine1day is a Canadian based charity that works only in Ethiopia and specifically on education projects. With a team of 33 staff members in Ethiopia; we are a goal oriented organisation genuinely committed to leaving a legacy at every level. In ten years we have built 283 classrooms in 47 new schools all in rural and isolated communities. In addition to constructing new schools in 4 districts we have also worked closely with 487 schools across 10 districts transforming lives through education and leadership. We have a distinctive approach to our work with leadership development as a key pillar to all that we do. We partner with rural communities in Ethiopia to provide in-depth teacher training and capacity building and goal setting providing resources and income-generating grants and providing new schools; built from the ground up. We spend a minimum of three years on a project and schools only graduate when we are sure the impacts of our efforts are sustainable.
PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) is a UK-based charity and we work with the Costa Foundation in Uganda. We use an innovative SmartAid model to develop and run sustainable secondary schools that permanently widen access to education in Uganda and Zambia. Three in four children in Uganda, and two in three children in Zambia are unable to get a secondary education, largely due to a severe lack of places in affordable, quality secondary schools. PEAS uses a SmartAid approach to create financially sustainable secondary schools. Our schools generate enough internal revenue (through government subsidy, low fees and income generating projects) to run indefinitely and independently of UK fundraising. PEAS only build schools in areas where the need is greatest, and where children would otherwise be unable to receive a secondary education. We are 72% of the cost of so called free government schools. Our hope is that one day every child in Africa will benefit from a quality secondary education.
Plan is an international NGO with a presence in more than 70 countries, and we work with the Costa Foundation in Honduras. Our aim is to help children in the world’s poorest communities to build a better future by:
– Giving children a healthy start in life, including access to safe drinking water
– Securing the education of girls and boys
– Working with communities to prepare for and survive disasters
– Inspiring children to take a lead in decisions that affect their lives
– Enabling families to earn a living and plan for their children’s future
Our child-centred, community-level, relationships help children build a better future for themselves.
Our CSR policy is central to the culture of Volcafe because we support the objectives and spirit of accountable professional practices, which also make good business sense.
Since 2011, our partnership with Costa Foundation has greatly contributed to a closer collaboration with our coffee farmers and local communities in Peru, Vietnam and Colombia. Together, we have created access to education which has positively influenced the life of children today, and for many generations to come.
The partnership with Costa Foundation goes hand in hand with Volcafe’s activities in promoting sustainable coffee production. We are part of supply chains which are registered and approved by all the major certification and verification bodies, including Rainforest Alliance.
A very special group of people, most of whom have other ‘day jobs’, make up the Costa Foundation team. Whether a trustee, a volunteer or a core team member, each and every one of these people has helped to change lives.
Trustee and Chairman
Russell is General Counsel for Costa Coffee Ltd and has been a commercial solicitor for over 30 years having qualified with Slaughter and May. Russell helped Costa in the initial stages of setting up The Costa Foundation in 2007 and was a founding Trustee when the Foundation became an independent charity in 2012. Russell believes that education is a vital element in relieving poverty in the developing world. He chairs the Costa Foundation’s Main Board which is responsible for the governance, strategic and financial aspects of the charity. He also chairs the Foundation’s Project’s Committee which decides which school projects the Foundation will fund, which implementation partners the Foundation works with and reviews the success of projects once they are finished.
Neil Lake is the Managing Director of Costa Coffee, UK&I. Neil joined Costa in 2018 as Retail and Operations Director, becoming Managing Director in 2019. Neil has vast international experience, working in Canada, Germany and Ireland and relocated from Melbourne, Australia, to join Costa, where he spent eight years working for Coles Group, most recently as the General Manager for their grocery business. Growing up and to this day, Neil’s mother instilled within him a strong passion for community and he is committed to doing right by the communities Costa source from and operate within. Neil joined the Costa Foundation as a Trustee in 2019, when he also took part in his first Costa Three Peaks Challenge, which raised over £300,000 in total. Neil is a huge supporter of the Costa Foundation and passionate about engaging with store teams every Costa Foundation Friday, raising as much money as possible to further improve the life chances of children in coffee growing communities.
Victoria leads Costa Coffee’s global sustainability team and has been with the business since 2015, she is responsible for the running of Costa’s sustainability strategy and plan called Behind the Beans. Victoria is passionate about sustainability and the role that businesses have to play in delivering on the Global Sustainability Goals. A keen foodie, cyclist and coffee addict, Victoria has done several crazy fundraising challenges for the Costa Foundation including the 3 Peaks by bike and has also volunteered in Coffee Growing communities in Central America. Victoria became a Costa Foundation Trustee in 2018.
Kay joined Rohan Designs as Finance Director in 2019. Previously Kay worked at Whitbread Plc for 10 years, after gaining her ACA accountancy qualifications with PwC. She worked in Premier Inn and Restaurants, Costa Coffee in various roles, including Finance Director for Costa Express. Kay became a volunteer for the Costa Foundation in 2011, supporting the finance work within the charity and was invited to become a trustee in 2017. She is passionate about Ethiopia and makes every effort to visit Costa Foundation funded schools there each year.
Laura works as a Professor of Development Research and Evaluation in the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and is currently Head of the School. She has two daughters, aged 4 and 10, and consequently doesn’t have time for much else! Before she came to UEA she worked with Young Lives (Oxford University), a study of children’s lives over time, and the Wellbeing in Developing Countries Research group (Bath University), and has a keen interest in education and social mobility. Her research interests centre around methodologies for doing good, ethical research and generating data for evaluation. Laura became a Costa Foundation Trustee in 2019 as she wanted to do something relating to education where you could see an immediate difference.
Liz was the Supply Chain Director of Costa until she retired in 2009, she had previously been Head of Primary Logistics at Sainsbury’s and also spent over 30 years with Marks and Spencer working in both the UK and the International Businesses. She joined the Charities Trust Board in 2013 and is a member of the Finance and Audit Committee. Liz became a Costa Foundation Trustee in 2012 and is a member of both the Projects Committee and the main board.
Amit qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC in 2000, before joining the Australian Government’s International Trade Agency in London. He volunteered for the No Smoking Day charity before being recruited to the position of interim Chief Executive, tasked with securing the future of the annual Department of Health-sponsored campaign. He subsequently became the Head of Corporate Partnerships at the British Heart Foundation, and in 2015 was headhunted for the role of Director of Corporate Partnerships at Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. In 2020 Amit was asked to be the interim Director of Fundraising for NHS Charities Together’s Urgent National Covid Appeal which raised £150m. Amit was previously a Trustee of the UK Friends of the Abraham Initiatives
John joined Whitbread in early 2014, to take on a new role as Head of Charity Partnerships, for Premier Inn and Restaurants, managing our hugely successful national charity partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital. John has previously spent most of his career in retail operations working in the discount sector, ASDA, shopping centres and as Head of Retail at Stansted Airport, developing the retail and eating offers across the airport. He first started working in the charity sector as Head of Regional Fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, where his key focus was to develop new income streams and build relationships with local communities, service providers and corporate organisations. In October 2018, John joined Costa as Charity and Community Manager, he is responsible for building on the great achievements of the Costa Foundation.
As man and boy, Piers had a 22 year career with Whitbread PLC with roles in sales, sales management, customer service and marketing. A personal experience in 2005 saw him change his career direction so that it now has a keen focus on helping disadvantaged children. Piers is a self-employed CSR and Community Investment consultant specialising in helping organisations and brands to create community and charity programmes that are fit for purpose and truly add value to as many beneficiaries as possible. He is also the Founder and Director of the Costa Foundation overseeing all of the project management from the UK with school projects now reaching coffee-growing communities in ten countries in three continents around the world. It’s the scale and reach of the charity that really impresses me; to have helped over 90,000 marginalised and disadvantaged children is hugely rewarding and seeing the love and passion that Costa team members have for this cause is such a positive thing to witness”
Stephen joined the ranks of the Costa Foundation in March 2020 as a Costa Foundation Executive. In this role he works closely with the Costa Coffee store champions, plans fundraising events and helps to grow our platform through the power of social media. Before joining as an official member of the team Stephen worked in Costa stores, starting as a Barista and working up to a Store managers position and then began to build himself into an area managers role. Stephen is an avid fundraiser, always raising money through sponsored events for lots of different charities but it was the Costa Foundation that he worked closely with whilst running his store that really grabbed hold of him, enticing him into his career change.
Rory is the Commercial Finance Manager for Premier Inn and is a Chartered Accountant. He helps the Foundation with Monitoring and Evaluation of school projects. His job is to help answer the question, are we spending our resources in the best way possible to meet our objectives? The better we understand the impact on education and sustainability of the projects we fund around the world, the more we can squeeze from every pound we invest in the future. Monitoring and Evaluation helps make every pound count. “I’m particularly inspired by the Costa Foundation’s long list of completed, high standard and thriving schools and its real focus on putting everything it raises into building more.”
Rachael works in the Whitbread Legal and Co Sec team as a Secretariat Manager, looking after UK company compliance. She is Secretary to the Fundraising and Engagement Committee and is responsible for organising meetings, collecting board papers, circulating the agenda and board papers ahead of the meetings, and attending the meetings to take minutes. “I have always wanted to volunteer for the Foundation because of the great work it does, providing education to children that otherwise wouldn’t have it, to improve their lives and the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. I am very proud to be part of the Foundation volunteer team.”
Deborah is a MENAI & SEA Finance Analyst for Costa. She is also the Costa Foundation Management Accountant. This involves working with Financial Analysts to review the charities income and expenditure reports and producing monthly management accounts. She also reviews the charities cash flow position, compiles yearly budgets, assists and prepares the year end accounts and answers any queries from the Auditors. “I volunteer my time because I am humbled to be a part of this amazing charity knowing we are making a massive difference to boys and girls in these remote coffee growing communities to educate, enrich and change their lives, there is no better feeling.”
Sabine joined Costa in 2015 as the cake/sweet buyer. She changed roles in July to become the UK&I Category Manager for Beverages. She is responsible for the category management for all -handcrafted and packaged drinks and works alongside the Global Innovation Team to translate global innovation to the UK market. Sabine has done many things for the Foundation including the festive cake showstopper which raised £74k, managing a team for the 2017 Three Peaks event and running a cookie activity which raised enough to fund an entire nursery school in Vietnam. “I lived in the Philippines with my parents as a teenager and was lucky enough to be able to be sent to an International school, but at the same time I experienced poverty first hand in a 3rd world country. Now being a mum myself of course I want to give my children the best possible education. Being lucky enough to be able to do that I wanted to expand this to parents and children less fortunate than us in those parts of the world where coffee is grown.”
Ash has been with Costa since August 2005 and was lucky enough to see the launch of the Costa Foundation in 2007. Ash now works in the Outlet Systems team applying store knowledge to improve systems such as tills, laptops, scanners etc, across the Costa estate. Each year Ash organises the Costa 3 Peaks event, and has been involved since the first event in 2007 which has now raised over £350k in 11 years. “For me the Foundation unites us to do good for others, to help where help is needed and support communities that would otherwise be overlooked.”
Katie works as a Fixed Assets Analyst for Costa and is a Finance Volunteer for the Costa Foundation. She looks after the charities expenditure and helps with the arrangement of the CHAPS payments that fund the building of our schools. “I volunteer because it is great to be a part of a community that has helped those who can now achieve their dream goals though education.”
If you have any questions that are not answered here, please get in touch.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The Costa Foundation is funded through a number of mechanisms:
- Direct annual donation from Costa
- Match-funding by Costa Coffee
- Costa Coffee customer donations via collection boxes
- Store fundraising activities
- Individual team member fundraising outside of stores (i.e. sponsored walks)
- Adhoc customer donations
- Payroll Giving contributions
- Cause related marketing activity
- Digital giving via SMS and website
- Donations from partner organisations and suppliers
- Annual national centrally driven campaigns
One of the charity’s strategic goals is that every school or school project we have funded becomes sustainable and able to stand on its own two feet within five years of our initial investment.
As such, the Costa Foundation does not pay for teacher’s salaries in the schools that it has funded as this is simply not sustainable. Instead, we have agreements with the local education authorities that they will fund the provision and training of teachers for the life of the school. The only exception to this model is PEAS schools in Uganda and Zambia where the teachers are funded by PEAS.
We have a ‘grant-application’ process meaning that our partners have to apply for grants for new schools and school projects. This application process is also there to provide additional resources for existing projects and has no time limit – thus ensuring the long-term sustainability of the projects.
Examples of such grants are:
- Colombia – extension of Anatoli School to provide kindergarten and primary school facilities including canteen and new playground. This happened eight years after the initial school build
- Uganda – all 12 of our Ugandan and Zambian high schools have been expanded since they were initially built, including classrooms, boarding accommodation, teacher’s accommodation and water storage tanks
- Vietnam – expansion of 4 of our nursery schools due to increasing numbers of children, specifically at Eatar Nursery School, Cu Kuin Nursery School, Cu Pang Nursery School and Hoa Dong Nursery School occurred within four years of the initial schools being constructed
The Costa Foundation works closely with a number of delivery partners all of whom have a close relationship with the co-operatives, local authorities, governments and communities in the countries we support. The decision-making process is based on the following criteria:
- Identifying a real need in terms of education
- Must be in coffee growing communities
- Identifying a strong partner to support the delivery of the project in the countries we support
The Costa Foundation has supported over 90 school projects in 10 countries around the world. Children are currently benefitting from Costa Foundation funded facilities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Uganda and Vietnam and Zambia. A proportion of raised funds are used to administer the charity and pay the salaries of team members.
We work closely with our delivery partners who have long-term relationships with the Non-Government Organisations, government, regional and local authorities, co-operatives and the communities. It is the delivery partners who are ultimately responsible for the day-to-day project management in the countries we are supporting.
Regular project updates are provided and there is a robust auditing process in place to evaluate and measure progress. The staged release of funds is based on achieving agreed project targets. Delivery partners are audited by the Costa Foundation annually to verify budgets, invoices and payments are accurate.
Costa Foundation accounts are independently verified to ensure transparency of payments direct to the projects at source.
School systems in other countries may have issues, but because the Costa Foundation focuses solely on areas where coffee is grown, we do not support projects outside of those regions. These remote, rural coffee growing areas require more urgent charity support - for example, only one in four children in Uganda has access to a high school education.
Not usually. Before starting a school project the Costa Foundation agrees with the government and local education authorities that they will fund the training and provision of teachers for the life of the school, in return for the Costa Foundation providing the capital to build the infrastructure. So, in effect, the schools are handed over to the government upon completion. There are a few exceptions to this, for example, PEAS schools in Uganda and Zambia.
If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please get in contact.