The Coffeelands Foundation was founded in 2014 by Scott Brant, Mike Jopek and Dan Weinberg. The idea was formed in the depths of a Montana winter when thoughts of tropical venues are at their strongest. The idea was a simple one - what can we do, as coffee consumers and as operators of coffee business, to ensure the success of our coffee growing partners in those far away tropical settings. We all owe much to coffee and there is much we can do to see our success reflected in the lives of those we depend on for coffee. What led from that idea is the Coffeelands Foundation.
We are a fully recognized non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) designation by the IRS. Your donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
We have a Board of Directors and an Advisory Panel.
The function of the Board is to carry out the purposes of the Foundation; to actively oversee and distribute donated funds to organizations that are managing programs and projects that provide support in coffee growing communities. The Advisory panel provides guidance to the Foundation in realizing its goals.
who we are
Scott Brant - Executive Director and Founder of the Coffeelands Foundation.
Scott has worked for over three decades in coffee. He helped found a successful roasting company in the early 1980's, Montana Coffee Traders.
As the primary coffee buyer and roaster for the company Scott developed an understanding of the challenges facing coffee businesses and the reality of fluctuating coffee prices affecting the world of coffee producers.
In the course of his career Scott had the opportunity to establish coffee roasting businesses in Moscow, Russia and in Passau, Germany. He has been involved in every aspect of the coffee roasting and retailing business from espresso machine repair to shipping to unloading thousands of pounds of green coffee.
As a coffee buyer, Scott has traveled extensively through Latin America and Ethiopia. He had the privilege of serving as an international juror on numerous Cup of Excellence competitions. He has been a frequent volunteer at numerous Specialty Coffee training events. His travels in coffee producing countries and his passion for socially/environmentally accountable coffee have motivated Scott to explore ways to contribute to the growing need for vital support in coffee growing communities. The formation of the Coffeelands Foundation is a way to realize this goal.
Board of Directors
Scott Brant - Chairman
Mike Jopek - Vice President, Secretary
Mike is a farmer and co-owner of Purple Frog Gardens in Whitefish, Montana. He is a political writer, community organizer and a retired Montana State Representative. Mike has had several years experience in being involved with managing a coffee business. He understands what it takes to not only manage a farm and a business but also through his two terms of a State Representative Mike has the practical skills of working with groups of people with differing political viewpoints. His role on the Board is to assist is the review of project proposals and make recommendations for Grants.
Dan Weinberg - Treasurer
Dan is the founder and president of the Innocence Project - Montana. A non-profit dedicated exonerating the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions. Dan is a retired Montana State Senator. He has been instrumental in developing some major community development projects in Whitefish, Montana - most notably, the Wave, a community recreation facility which is a model of community development across the country. His role as Treasurer is to see that funds are properly handled and accounted for and will aid in the tracking and accountability of Grants made by the Coffeelands Foundation.
Susie Spindler - Founder and Executive Director 1999-2014 of ACE. The Cup of Excellence program and trademark are owned and managed by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence Inc. (ACE), a US-based non-profit organization. Susie has been the driving force behind the Cup of Excellence coffee competitions for the last 15 years. Her vision of the Cup of Excellence has literally changed the face of exemplary coffee and has impacted the lives of thousands of coffee farmers and roasters worldwide. Susie's roots in coffee go back to the early 80's where she developed the College Coffee Project which was instrumental in introducing specialty coffee to college campuses across America. She was also instrumental in bringing to the North American market the Gourmet Project - a precursor to Cup of Excellence - which introduced exemplary coffees from under-recognized producing countries to the growing specialty industry in the States. We are proud to be working with Susie on this new venture, the Coffeelands Foundation and look forward to her insightful contribution in addressing the needs of coffee growing communities everywhere.