The Starbucks Foundation and Mercy Corps: Celebrating 20 years of partnership

Endah washes coffee beans on her family’s farm in Indonesia. Through Mercy Corps’ program funded by The Starbucks Foundation, she’s learned financial management, bookkeeping, and accounting to help maximize her business profits.
Oralia is a Guatemalan coffee farmer, mother, and one of more than 1.1 million people Mercy Corps and The Starbucks Foundation reached through our COVID-19 Response program across Indonesia, Colombia, Guatemala, India,  Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Aryanti cradles her 2-year-old daughter. She received entrepreneurship and business training to help her start her own business, making and selling snack chips made from local Indonesian spices, herbs, and root vegetables.
Maria was one of 8,000 people impacted by Mercy Corps and The Starbucks Foundation’s BUILD program which provided holistic support to coffee farmers in Colombia, including secure land titles for almost 250 families.
Through support from The Starbucks Foundation, Santos (left), a leader in the Rocja Chuachil community in Guatemala, promotes the use of public latrines and trash cans as well as a community emergency fund in coordination with the Health Commission.
The Community Health and Advancement Initiative (CHAI) in India, funded by The Starbucks Foundation, allowed Sokila to receive training from a local polytechnic college and start a tailoring business for women in her own home. The program set her on a new path for economic opportunity, and she hopes to one day become a tailoring institute instructor to teach other girls these skills.
Agustina, an Indonesian coffee farmer and preschool teacher, participated in a Mercy Corps program supported by The Starbucks Foundation to become a community health volunteer. She was trained in topics that included health care, immunizations, hygiene, and child nutrition, and now plays a critical role in educating her neighbors about improving health outcomes.
Mercy Corps and The Starbucks Foundation are creating an impact that lasts generations. Through Community Health and Advancement Initiative (CHAI) trainings in Guatemala, Otilia gained skills that benefited her entire family, including her mother and granddaughter, shown here. Otilia learned crop diversification, planting techniques, and breadmaking to further her family business.


For twenty years, Mercy Corps and The Starbucks Foundation have been at the forefront of supporting coffee-, tea-, and cocoa-growing communities around the world, uplifting women and girls through leadership and economic opportunities, delivering water, hygiene and sanitation services, and responding to disasters. Together, we’ve reached more than 1.7 million lives in 10 countries by partnering with local communities to build integrated initiatives that create long-lasting, sustainable change.

To create a sustainable future of coffee, we must care for the well-being of the farmers and communities that grow coffee, tea, and cocoa around the world.

Michelle Burns, Executive Vice President of Global Coffee, Social Impact and Sustainability, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Board Member, The Starbucks Foundation
Making a difference, together
  • 20

    years of partnership
  • 1.7m+

    people reached
  • 730k+

    women and girls reached
  • 10

    coffee-, tea-, and cocoa-growing countries supported

Mercy Corps’ partnership with The Starbucks Foundation is special. We know that by coming together, alongside coffee-, tea- and cocoa-growing origin communities, we can address some of the greatest challenges of our time, including gender inequality, climate change, COVID-19, and water and food insecurity.

Mercy corps, ceo tjada d’oyen mckenna and starbucks executive vice president michelle burns visited indonesia meeting with mercy corps indonesia team members and residents of campaka mulya village in west java, indonesia.
Mercy Corps Chief Executive Officer Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, alongside Starbucks Executive Vice President Michelle Burns, visit a coffee-growing community in West Java, Indonesia where Mercy Corps and The Starbucks Foundation’s partnership reaches women coffee farmers through entrepreneurship and WASH training.

Creating lasting, sustainable change alongside communities

Working together, we’ve been able to do so much more than we could on our own.

It all began with a multi-level innovative partnership in 2003 to address the needs of tea-growing communities in India. For 15 years, our flagship program, Community Health and Advancement Initiative (CHAI) provided youth vocational training, improved water and sanitation systems, supported improved community health outcomes, and encouraged sustainable livelihoods impacting over 112,900 people in Darjeeling and Assam, India, and across cardamom-growing villages in Guatemala.

In India, our tutoring program on tea estates helped bridge the learning gap for students to complete high school. As few as 30% of students on tea estates pass the annual High School Leaving Exam, but among those receiving tutoring, the pass rate rose to 70%. The program also provided scholarship funds to the highest-performing students to help cover the cost of relocating from rural tea estates to urban centers for university.

At the onset of the global pandemic in 2020, we were able to leverage our joint networks, including The Starbucks Foundation’s partners, farmer groups, cooperatives, local government, and civil society groups to share COVID-19 messaging as broadly as possible to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep farmers and their families from communities in Indonesia, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Ethiopia, and Kenya safe. We also provided critical support to communities by distributing masks, sanitation supplies, and handwashing stations.

In 2021, Mercy Corps and The Starbucks Foundation launched an exciting initiative called “Brewing Change: Women’s Empowerment in Coffee Origin Communities” – a suite of integrated programs that break down barriers for women to access economic opportunities and promote clean water and sanitation services within Indonesia, Guatemala, and Colombia.

Our current programs focused on women’s empowerment in coffee-origin communities are contributing to progress towards The Starbucks Foundation’s goal to positively impact 1 million women and girls in coffee-, tea-, and cocoa-growing communities by 2030.

Mercy Corps’ partnership with The Starbucks Foundation launched in 2003 in India. Since then, our collaboration has grown to support more than 1.7 million people in coffee-, tea- and cocoa-growing communities in 10 countries around the world.

Taking bold action to build climate resilience

For decades, Mercy Corps has been helping communities rise to meet the challenges of climate change. Mercy Corps has responded to nearly every global natural disaster in the last twenty years and partnered across borders, sectors, and silos to support communities of people with the tools and resources to cope during crisis, adapt to evolving challenges, and thrive into the future.

As the climate crisis intensifies—the communities that are least responsible for it are the ones most devastated. Extreme weather, climate-related disasters, and climate stressors are hitting communities that are already struggling to recover from the last event, making it difficult for them to prepare for the future and break the disaster-recovery cycle.

Mercy Corps is launching a climate campaign to exponentially advance climate resilience solutions for communities globally. The Starbucks Foundation recognizes that coffee-, tea-, and cocoa-growing origin communities around the world are among those disproportionately affected by the ongoing impact of climate change and have committed to a new multi-year investment in Mercy Corps’ climate campaign to support origin communities to build climate resilience.

Our longstanding and trusted partnership with The Starbucks Foundation has allowed us to lean into our respective expertise and truly collaborate around our shared vision to strengthen communities. Together we are re-envisioning a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient world.

Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps’ climate resilience campaign

Mercy Corps envisions a world where the people already experiencing the consequences of the climate crisis are able to cope, adapt, and build lasting resilience—through proven, climate-smart solutions tailored to each community’s unique needs, systems, and contexts.

Mercy Corps is calling on the power of philanthropic and private sectors to invest meaningfully and comprehensively in our climate solutions. Mercy Corps urges individuals and companies interested in maximizing their impact to consider providing funds to both Mercy Corps and Mercy Corps Ventures, our impact investment arm, to help us bring transformational change alongside communities.

Learn more about how you can support this initiative.