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About Costa Foundation

The Costa Foundation has the strapline “Helping Communities Grow” – and aims to help coffee growing communities grow through education.


To improve the life chances of boys and girls in coffee growing communities by providing the opportunity of a quality education.

What is it?

It is a registered charity (charity number England and Wales 1147400 and Scotland SCO43414) set up in 2012.

Background and history

The Costa Foundation originally started in 2007 operating under the charitable status of Charities Trust, which was already a registered charity. From 2007 until 2012; Charities Trust handled the administration and finance of the Costa Foundation. This arrangement allowed the Costa Foundation in its early stage; to minimise overhead costs and enabled the management team to concentrate on determining which projects to support and to get behind their people's fundraising efforts.

How does it support coffee growing communities?

The Costa Foundation supports coffee-growing communities by:

  • Building new schools or extending existing ones
  • Furnishing the new buildings
  • Investing in water supplies
  • Providing electricity
  • Providing computers
  • Developing land for families to grow crops
  • Building teacher accommodation
  • Building latrines
  • Maximising leverage opportunities for the communities
Why did Costa originally set up the Foundation in 2007?

Costa recognised that without the farmers and co-operatives that grow coffee, they would have no business. They are an integral part of Costa's success; giving long-term support where possible seemed like a natural thing to do.

How is the Costa Foundation funded?

The Costa Foundation is funded through a number of mechanisms:

  • Direct annual donation from Costa
  • Match-funding by Whitbread and Costa
  • Annual national centrally driven campaigns in July and August
  • Store Fundraising activities
  • Individual team member fundraising outside of stores (i.e. sponsored walks)
  • Adhoc customer donations during national campaigns
  • Payroll Giving contributions
  • Cause related marketing activity
  • Donations from partner organisations and suppliers
What are you doing to ensure the long term sustainability of the Foundation’s work?

The 'grant-application' process, which is there to provide additional resources for existing projects, has no time limit - this will ensure the long-term sustainability of the projects.

Examples of such grants are: -

  • Gew Gew Dingente High School in Ethiopia which was built in 2011 suffered loss of water supply due to damaged water pipes. The Costa Foundation funded water harvesting tanks to ensure that the children had a fresh water supply.
  • Hibiscus High School in Uganda which was built in 2011 has been such a success that enrolment numbers have been higher than projected. As a result, the Costa Foundation has subsequently invested in additional classrooms, boarding accommodation and water tanks to cope with the demand.
  • Santa Ana Candelaria School in Guatemala built in 2011 has attracted children from much further afield than expected and as a result the Costa Foundation has invested in boarding accommodation and science and computer labs.
How do you choose the projects you are working with?

The Costa Foundation works closely with a number of delivery partners all of which have a close relationship with the co-operatives, Local Authorities, Governments and communities in the countries we support. The decision-making process is based on the following criteria:

  • Identifying a real need in terms of education
  • Must be in coffee growing communities
  • Identifying a strong partner to support the delivery of the project in the countries we support.
Where is the money going?

The Costa Foundation has supported 32 school projects in eight countries around the world. Children are currently benefitting from Costa Foundation funded facilities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and Uganda.

How can you prove that the money that Costa Foundation invests in developing countries is actually used for the projects?
  • We work closely with our delivery partners who have long-term relationships with the Non-Government Organisations, Government, Regional and Local Authorities, Co-operatives and the communities. It is the delivery partners who are ultimately responsible for the day-to-day project management in the countries we are supporting.
  • In certain countries, the Costa Foundation employs Project Managers who are responsible for all budget management throughout the project-build and beyond.
  • Regular project updates are provided and there is a robust auditing process in place to evaluate and measure progress. The staged release of funds is based on achieving agreed project targets.
  • Costa Foundation accounts are independently verified to ensure transparency of payments direct to the projects at source.
Why don’t you help schools in this country?

Our state school system in this country has many issues; however in all but very rare cases all children here have access to schooling. The amount of government funding and non-governmental attention in the UK means that children here do not require the same level of urgent charity support as those in remote, rural coffee growing areas

Does the Costa Foundation pay for teachers and/ or run the schools?

No – Before starting a school project the Costa Foundation agrees with the government and local education authorities that they will fund the training and provision of teachers for the life of the school in return for the Costa Foundation providing the capital to build the infrastructure. So in effect; the schools are handed over to the government upon completion.

How do I get in contact with Costa for Schools?

You can get in touch by sending us an email to [email protected]