Fundraising Campaign Team forms to Support Blessed Coffee

Takoma Park-based Blessed Coffee, a wholesale supplier of organic, single origin Ethiopian coffee, announces the formation of a fundraising campaign team. The 16 member team will plan and execute a crowd funding campaign to raise capital for the opening of a Blessed Coffee Café in downtown Takoma Park. The campaign is called Brewing Change.

The members of the campaign team come from a diversity of backgrounds, but have each been drawn to Brewing Change because of Blessed Coffee’s socially conscious and sustainable business practices. Team members represent the breadth of skills and professions found in this region—art, law, organizational development, communications, technology, community activism and real estate.

Members of the team are: Kimberley Jutze, Heran Getachew, Christopher King, Younés Rhiwi, Paula Matallana, Adam Mendelevitz, Anthony Marcos Rogers, Mhretab Tewolde, Marc Einhorn, Mebrahtu Grmai, Gretchen Hilburger, Sean Griffin, Masai McDougall, and Lanita Whitehurst.
Also on the team are Blessed Coffee’s owners, husband and wife Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie. Tebabu and Sara have worked hard to establish a successful wholesale business and now look forward to breaking into the retail market with their cottage café. “We’ve found a perfect location in downtown Takoma Park for Blessed Coffee. We envision the space not only as a coffee shop and café, but also a community gathering place. “

The future café will be unique in a couple of ways. The shop’s design will incorporate elements of Ethiopian culture and architecture and will have a small coffee roasting facility on-site. Corey Pickens of Pickens and Thompson, the design firm working on the project, says of the undertaking that, “We’re proud to lend our hand to this project. In it, I can clearly see the continuity of community, coffee, and culture.”

Additionally, and perhaps most significantly, the opening of the Blessed Coffee retail shop will allow for the full implementation of the company’s unique and innovative business model—Virtuous Exchange. Like Fair Trade, Virtuous Exchange embraces the principles of helping producers in developing countries obtain fair prices, be treated ethically, and implement environmentally sustainable practices. But Virtuous Exchange goes beyond Fair Trade to offer producers a significantly higher share of profits (up to 50%) and investment opportunities. Additionally, Virtuous Exchange intentionally promotes the social and cultural traditions of producers in every transaction and works to build mutually beneficial relationships between producers and consumers.
Although the official kick-off of the Brewing Change campaign isn’t until August 21st, the campaign website is already up and running and features the latest campaign news, pictures and bios of team members, and the campaign blog.

Blessed Coffee is a coffee wholesaler supplying single origin, ultra-premium, organic coffee from the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Blessed Coffee is headquartered in Takoma Park, Maryland and was founded by husband and wife team Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie. The business was launched in 2011 and is the nation’s second Benefit Corporation—a class of corporation that creates a positive material impact on society. Blessed Coffee is also distinguished for its unique business model known as Virtuous Exchange and is a recipient of the White House “Champion of Change” award.

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