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Coffee for a Cause
Location: Hynson Lounge
CHESTERTOWN, MD—On Friday, April 25, Washington College welcomes Tebabu Assefa, founder and ‘chief storyteller’ of the Takoma Park-based benefit corporation Blessed Coffee. His program, “Blessed Coffee: Cultural and Economic Convergence for Sustainable Development,” will take place in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. It will begin at 4 p.m. with a “coffee signing,” followed by a talk at 4:30 p.m. and a coffee tasting reception afterward. The event is sponsored by the departments of Black Studies, Sociology, Business, International Studies, and Economics, along with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. It is free and open to the public.
Assefa is a community leader and social entrepreneur who received the Obama Administration’s Champions of Change award for his work with the Virtuous Exchange model. The model encourages direct connections between small farms and producers and the consumer, with the aim of promoting social justice, community resilience, and economic prosperity. Blessed Coffee, which supports 205,000 coffee farmers in Ethiopia, was the second company in the United States to register as a Benefit Corporation—a hybrid of the profit and non-profit models. In the coffee-growing regions of Ethiopia, for example, Blessed Coffee has shared its profits to help fund schools, health clinics, safe water wells, and other community programming there.
“In Ethiopia, coffee is like wine is to the French,” Assefa once explained to the Gazette newspaper. “It’s a ritual.”
Assefa lives in Takoma Park, Md., with his wife and business partner, Sara Mussie, and their children.