Our team

  • Our Partners

    The Costa Foundation has the easy job of raising the money to build schools, but without our delivery partners we recognise that the schools simply would not be built. A huge thank you goes to all of our partners for the hard work and commitment that they give day in and day out to make sure the schools are fit for purpose.

    Complete Coffee

    Our Foundation has been set up to work together with other like-minded Companies & Institutions who wish to support Coffee farmers and their families. Our focus tends to be on education and food security projects and where possible children will be the focus of our help.

    We are very proud to partner and support the Costa Foundation in their endeavour to bring education to the coffee farming communities at origin.

    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. 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. 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. We work with children in the world’s poorest communities to help them 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.

    Roebuck Productions

    We are happy to be able to work with Roebuck Productions, not only are they a constant supporter of our work financially but they also give a huge amount of voluntary time to help us communicate the impacts we are having around the world. Indeed every video that’s ever been produced for the Costa Foundation has been edited, polished and produced by this wonderful company.

    Click here to see an example of their work.


    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. 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.

  • Our Trustees

    Clive Bentley

    Clive has been involved with the Costa Foundation since 2009 and led its transformation into a registered charity in 2012.  Clive has had a long association with Costa stretching over 14 years. He joined the business in 2003 & rose to become The Global Property & Commercial director until he left the business in 2017. Clive was responsible for all aspects of Costa’s property strategy, including its phenomenal growth, store design, construction and all asset management duties, as well as the commercial remit.  Clive was also a Trustee Director of the Whitbread Pension Fund and had previously been Costa’s Corporate Responsibility Director. Clive is a qualified Chartered Surveyor with over 25 years’ experience in the retail/leisure property market. Clive now runs his own consultancy business in the retail & F&B sector.

    Liz Perry

    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.

    Russell Fairhurst

    Russell is Group Legal Director for Whitbread PLC, a FTSE 100 company, 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 Foundation`s Projects 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.

    Tim Johnson

    Tim has over 25 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector and during that period has developed a passion for helping young people to realise their full potential. As Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Tim has responsibility for both strategic leadership and operational management of the charity, which raises money to support the work of the hospital.

    Tim was recruited to GOSH Charity in 2002 to help establish the charity’s Major Gift Fundraising team and took up his current role heading-up the charity in 2008.  Before that Tim worked in a range of fundraising roles for several charities, including Mencap and Community Service Volunteers (CSV) and was Head of Fundraising at UCL (University College London) before he joined GOSH Charity.

    Tim became a Trustee for the Costa Foundation in 2013 and is a member of the Fundraising and Engagement Committee.


    Kieran Cooke

    Kieran has extensive experience within the education sector working to ensure that all children have a promising future through a high-quality education. He has worked with governments and charities in the UK, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia enabling the improvement of educational outcomes. Kieran began his career as a secondary mathematics teacher in Manchester. He worked for PEAS in Uganda, a Costa Foundation partner, where he was introduced to the work of the Foundation which inspired him to become a Trustee. Kieran became a Costa Foundation Trustee in 2016.

    Victoria Moorhouse

    Victoria is Head of Sustainability at Costa, responsible for the development and delivery of Costa’s Force for Good sustainability programme, of which the Costa Foundation is a key part. Victoria is passionate about sustainability and the role that businesses have to play in delivering on the global Sustainable Development Goals. She has a diverse background in programme management and sustainability within the food and hospitality service sector. Prior to Costa, Victoria headed up the Programme team at the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) where she oversaw development of strategic projects. Before the SRA Victoria worked on the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games Organising Committee where she programme managed the Catering Cleaning and Waste (CCW) operation for almost three years. A keen foodie, cyclist and coffee addict, Victoria has also previously volunteered on conversation projects in coffee growing communities within Central America. Victoria became a Costa Foundation Trustee in January 2018.

    Kate Seljeflot

    Kate joined Costa as Group HR Director in September 2016. She leads Costa’s global people strategy, with a particular focus on building the right organisation & capabilities to support the business’s ambitious growth plans. Before joining Costa, Kate spent 14 years at Diageo, most recently as Global Talent Director. Kate became a Foundation Trustee in January 2018 and is a member of the Fundraising and Engagement Committee.

    Kay Brunton

    Kay joined Whitbread Plc in 2008, after gaining her ACA accountancy qualifications with PwC. She has worked in Premier Inn and Restaurants, Costa Coffee and is currently working as 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.

  • Our Team

    Piers Blake

    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 60,000 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”

    Becky Stephenson

    Becky officially joined the charity in January 2017, having been a volunteer since it was founded in 2007. As the Costa Foundation Executive, Becky’s role covers a wide range of tasks from management of the charities website and social media accounts to administrative support of the charity Director and event and project management. “The Costa Foundation is a charity that is very close to my heart, and I have been lucky enough to see it grow and evolve since 2007. I am so proud of what has been achieved in 10 years, and cannot wait to reach our target of 100 schools for 100,000 children by 2020.”

    Jodi Wheatley

    Jodi works as a member of the Sustainability team at Costa. Her role focuses on working with teams across the Costa business to help them support communities both near and far. In her day job she is able to share the message of the Foundation by coordinating Costa Foundation communications internally; she organises and chairs monthly communications meetings, writes updates to be shared through Costa’s internal channels, and helps to recognise and showcase amazing fundraising via social media. “Becoming part of the Costa Foundation family, and helping to talk about the amazing work that the charity does with our teams, is one of the favourite parts of my role. I am incredibly proud of the work that the Foundation does and the impact that it has on so many children, and feel very fortunate to have a role within Costa that allows me to be involved in supporting the charity as much as possible.”

    John English

    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.

  • Our Volunteers

    Kelly Ho

    Kelly works in the Costa strategy team, working on a variety of projects across the business. She has been volunteering for the Costa Foundation since early 2015, accounting for the expenditure side of the financials and raising payments to ensure our delivery partners have the funds to build our schools, and keeping track of our spending. “From volunteering I’ve seen how strong and positive the impact of the Costa Foundation is on the children and communities on the ground, and by volunteering I get to see those realities end to end and feel like I’m making a tangible difference”.

    Georgia Slade

    Georgia is Costa’s Internal Control Manager and has been with Whitbread for two years, previously working for Group Internal Audit.  She looks after the Costa Foundation’s income, ensuring that payments are made when due and tracks which fundraising events raise the most money for the charity.  “The Foundation is important to me because I believe that all children have a right to a safe, quality education and that large companies have an obligation to support their communities.”

    Katie Yau

    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.”

    Rory Blyth

    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.”

    Lydia Plummer

    Lydia works for Whitbread as a Senior Secretariat & Insurance Adviser, sitting within the Whitbread Legal and Co Sec team. She is Secretary to the Costa Foundation and the Projects Committee, and is responsible for looking after the general governance of the Foundation. As part of her role she organises meetings, collects board papers, circulates agendas and board packs ahead of meetings, and attends meetings to take minutes. “I love volunteering for the Foundation because it genuinely feels like we’re doing something worthwhile and making a real difference to the lives of children in coffee growing communities. I’m extremely proud to volunteer for a Foundation that is so passionate about ensuring all children have access to a safe, quality education, and particularly one that sees the rights and education of girls as such a pivotal part of their goal.”

    Rachael Gardiner

    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 Smith

    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 Testar

    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 so much for the Foundation including:

    • Negotiating and launching the festive cake showstopper for Christmas 2016 which raised £74k
    • Negotiating and launching cookies in 2017 with CSM bakeries which has raised enough to fund the building of Hoa Cuc Nursery School in Vietnam
    • Managing a team (the “Cookie Monsters”) in the 2017 Costa Three Peaks event

    “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 Chambers

    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.”


Thanks to you we've built 587 classrooms in 10 countries giving
79 coffee growing communities access to education

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coffee-growing communities we are supporting.

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To improve the life chances of boys and girls in coffee growing communities
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