In the presence of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Lifetime Achievement Award-winner and Cognos founder Michael Potter, and 23 other business leaders with their employees, friends and families, Equator Coffee Roasters co-founders Craig and Amber Hall were honoured with a Best Ottawa Business (BOB) Award for Best Performance in Philanthropy. The award nomination was made by SchoolBOX, one of several charitable organizations supported by the Almonte-based company.
A glamorous event held at Ottawa’s Westin Hotel, the “BOBs” are the Academy Awards of the Ottawa business community. Organized by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal, they recognize the most successful and innovative companies and business leaders who are driving economic growth and prosperity in the nation’s capital.
Equator Coffee Roasters’ donations to SchoolBOX make education possible for the children of Nicaragua, one of the countries where the company sources fair trade organic coffee. Beginning in 2010, Equator began quarterly contributions of 10 cents a pound for every bag of coffee sold, plus other initiatives at its Almonte and Ottawa cafes. As a result, total donations to SchoolBOX will surpass $100,000 based on 2016 sales. It also makes the company SchoolBOX’s number one corporate sponsor.
The ongoing donation from Equator Coffee Roasters goes a long way in Nicaragua to transform the lives of children who otherwise would not receive an education. It has so far built two entire schools, and purchased over 11,000 educational packages with sufficient materials (notebooks, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, ruler) for a student to study for an entire semester. Amber Hall also serves as Chair of the SchoolBOX Board of Directors, and is leading an Equator team school build trip to Nicaragua Nov. 24 to Dec. 3.
“Partnering with SchoolBOX has been a fulfillment of a dream for Equator. We have always hoped that our business operations would result in a tangible benefit for coffee farmers even beyond fair trade,” said Amber. “Participating in providing school supplies and travelling to Nicaragua to build schools where our coffee is grown does just that. It’s also a great way to include staff and customers in giving back.”
Her husband Craig added, “It is very rewarding that so many customers and employees of Equator Coffee Roasters have bought into our vision, literally, to purchasing high quality, ethically sourced coffee. We are a company that seeks a high standard, but we could not do it without everyone’s support. We are very thankful to them, and to SchoolBOX for initiating the nomination! It was also amazing to be in the company of so many other exceptional and innovative businesses at the BOBs Awards ceremony.”
SchoolBOX’s Nicaragua initiative is but one of many worthy causes supported by the Equator Coffee Roasters team. The company also supports:
- Love Made Real to provide homes for orphans, feeding programs and installation of wood stoves and solar lights to improve health and quality of life in Guatemala
- On the Ground for sustainable community development in farming communities in Congo
- Coop Coffees Roya Relief Fund to help coffee farmers deal with the Roya Leaf Rust problem using methods such as re-planting, organic fertilization or intensive organic training programs in Central and South America.
- Closer to home, Equator Coffee Roasters provides ongoing support for many local community groups, churches, schools, sports teams and charitable organizations through wholesale pricing of its coffee. These organizations resell coffee at retail prices for fundraising initiatives and retain the profits for their programs. The company also engages in event sponsorships, brewed coffee donations, auction and raffle donations.
This weekend, the well-deserved BOB Award for Best Performance in Philanthropy will be on display at SchoolBOX’s 10th annual Latin Fiesta fundraiser and celebration in Almonte. Everyone is invited to the event that takes place at the Almonte Civitan Hall from 7 to 9pm on Saturday night, and are encouraged to congratulate Craig and Amber on their award!
SchoolBOX is committed to ‘Making Education Possible’ for the children of Nicaragua. SchoolBOX implements cost effective programming by building schools, providing school supplies, libraries, and teacher training. SchoolBOX has built 80 classrooms, and 46 washrooms in Nicaragua and serves over 17,487 students and teachers in 96 communities on an annual basis.
Our community is united in love for the children we serve and the belief that education can defeat poverty. SchoolBOX is comprised of thousands of people from different faiths and socioeconomic backgrounds. We empower educators and students, and they in turn empower their communities and change our world.