1. Which organizations are eligible to receive donations through the sale of Sisters’ Story Coffee?

Eligibility Policy Statement: Sisters’ Story Coffee is a fundraising initiative that intends to raise much needed funds for women’s shelters/transition houses and sexual assault centres, which may serve people across the gender spectrum. Most of the shelters serve women fleeing domestic violence, but we do not exclude other kinds of women’s shelters (such as for those in housing crisis or needing supportive housing) since these women have also commonly experienced high rates of violence. 

The agencies receiving donations are autonomous from Sisters’ Story Coffee and our affiliates, and we cannot issue charitable receipts on their behalf. We split our profit margin with these individual agencies, rather than larger umbrella organizations, so that buyers can have an immediate impact in their own communities. 

Through a simple web search, we endeavour to confirm that each of the agencies is legitimate and has a positive reputation within their communities when they sign on to become donation recipients. We cannot confirm if they are incorporated or have charitable status, or exactly how they use the donations they receive. Typically, these organizations are recognized to be legitimate by local community members and by their professional associations. 

If you represent such an organization, and would like to be a beneficiary of this program, please contact us at info[at]sistersstory[dot]com.

2. What percentage of the sale proceeds will the donation recipients receive?

15% of the online sale.

3. Can you issue charitable receipts for donations?

This is not possible because the charities themselves would each have to issue the receipts for many mostly small transactions.

4. Where can people buy Sisters’ Story Coffee?

Only through our online store.

5. What buying options do customers have?

Coffee is available in regular and decaf, auto ground and whole beans, medium and dark roasts. Buyers can make single orders or purchase subscriptions to receive regular deliveries.

6. Do you sell Sisters’ Story Coffee wholesale?

Not at this time. 

7. Who is behind Sisters’ Story Coffee?

Sisters’ Story is a new project (2020) of Sumac Community Worker Co-operative, Inc. which was incorporated in 2005. Sumac owns and operates Sisters’ Story Coffee and runs its sales and marketing.

Sumac received a 2020-2021 Investment Readiness Program Grant through Community Foundations Canada to develop the Sisters’ Story Coffee project.

Sumac is designed to foster innovative community economic development projects, to further social and environmental justice.

Sumac also owns 100% of Planet Bean Coffee, Inc. which was incorporated in Ontario in 1997 as a regular business. Planet Bean is considered a social enterprise because, like Sumac, its goals are explicitly social and environmental.

This article explains the relationship between Planet Bean and Sumac: https://canadianworker.coop/planet-bean-finds-success-with-new-model/

Planet Bean roasts and sells coffee to cafes, restaurants, educational institutions, and stores in Ontario. It is the private label supplier of Sisters Story Coffee for Sumac. Planet Bean imports, roasts, packages and ships our beans. They hold the Fairtrade and Organic certifications for those parts of the supply chain.

We have also gratefully received advice and outreach support for the project from Women’s Shelters Canada.

This project was made possible through a grant from the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program.

8. Where do the beans come from? 

The beans come from a Fairtrade co-operative in northern Peru. Within this co-op, the women farmers sell their beans separately from the men through a program called Café Femenino. They are the originators of this program. It ensures the women can control their trade, and they get an additional premium (plus the Fairtrade premium) to invest in community projects like building roads and schools. 

9. What are your values? 

Throughout our history Sumac has supported Indigenous farmers around the world. One of the values that informs our work is ensuring we are not only creating a better future, but that we are addressing the wrongs of the past in a reconstructive way. Conscious that, as settlers, we have reaped privileged benefits from our past, Sumac is designed to be a distributive and healing organization.

Our coffee is Certified Organic so you know the farmers are treating the earth well, it’s Fairtrade Certified so you know the farmers and workers are being fairly compensated, and it’s roasted, packaged and shipped by a Canadian social enterprise (Planet Bean) that has achieved 14 of the 17 United Nations Sustainability Goals.

Also, it’s delicious. This is a high priority for us and something we value. We value coffee as a craft, as a resource, and as an experience. It’s something that truly enriches our quality of life. 

We want consumers to be able to enjoy such good coffee with us. And we want them to support their local communities and economies at the same time. This is the benefit of letting them chose the donation recipients themselves. It enables them to act locally and globally. 

The decision to direct donations to violence against women’s organizations specifically was made by the Café Femenino farmers. Seventy percent of the women in their growing regions have historically been survivors of physical and sexual violence. Café Femenino became a way for them to combat this abuse. They know first-hand how much economic development and community support impacts the safety and wellbeing of women and children. When these farmers learned that their experience of violence was not unique to them, and that women in North America also experience abuse, they mandated that any roaster selling their coffee must support violence against women organizations in their own communities. This is the inspiration for Sisters’ Story. Sumac recognizes that gender-based violence persists as an epidemic and tragic reality throughout our world, at home and away. Ending it is a worthy cause for solidarity across cultures and borders.

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