Jeff and Donna Martin have been involved in Sister Schools since the very beginning. Their work has often been behind the scenes: serving on the Board of Directors, working as our accountant, and providing funding through Pura Vida Coffee, of which they are co-owners, and the Create Good Foundation.
Pura Vida Coffee is served in offices and churches, and many of their customers suspended coffee service with the onset of Covid-19. As a result, Jeff has had more free time to work on home remodel projects during the week and to pursue other personal interests, like boating, fishing, and golf. Fortunately, business is beginning to recover as offices reopen and churches resume worship services.
Read on to hear more from Jeff on his history with Sister Schools and how you can support both Sister Schools and Pura Vida Coffee.
1. What is your history with Sister Schools?
My wife, Donna, and I met Terry and Melissa McGill when we attended First Free Methodist Church in the 1980’s. When Terry founded Sister Schools, many members of the Sunday school class we attended were involved in helping Sister Schools become established in the early years.
Since then, most of my work with Sister Schools has been “back office” stuff like serving off and on the Board, fundraising (working with my Dad, we obtained a $144k grant for Sister Schools to hire new staff and build capacity in 2011), and – of course – Donna (who co-owns Pura Vida Coffee and is a Certified Public Accountant) has maintained the Sister Schools books and managed payroll for several years. Somewhat boring stuff compared to being more involved in the actual Program itself!
Over the years, we have purchased at the Annual Auction various works of African art which are prominently displayed in our home. So, on a daily basis we are reminded about the great work Sister Schools does and know none of this would have happened absent the hard work and commitment of the McGill family.
2. What makes Pura Vida different from other coffee roasters? How does partnering with Sister Schools connect back to Pura Vida/Create Good's mission?
Pura Vida Coffee was founded in 1998 as a caused-based business. From inception, we have paid our coffee growers fairly and through a Foundation we established which is supported by Pura Vida Coffee and third party donors has funded projects to improve living standards in the communities that grow our beans.
For several years, we have distributed through our website a coffee named Mukwano with all the net proceeds benefiting Sister Schools. The majority of the beans for Mukwano are grown on the African continent and Sister Schools is our main philanthropic cause in this part of the world.
3. What are you most looking forward to this year?
Hopefully being able to communicate without wearing a mask! Also, spending more in-person time with various stakeholders at work, family and friends.
4. How can we continue supporting Pura Vida Coffee during the pandemic?
Visit our webstore, order some Mukwano coffee, and generate support for both Sister Schools and Pura Vida. Referrals are always appreciated so if your office or church coffee program could use an upgrade, give us a call!