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One Foundation continues support of Food Justice Lab and FIRSTHAND at WVU

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In 2016, FIRSTHAND launched its “Mountains to Mountains” campaign, a collaborative initiative aiming to support solidarity economies and sustainable rural development in mountain communities of Central America and Central Appalachia.
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The One Foundation recently awarded a $30,000 grant to the Food Justice Lab, housed in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University to provide technical support for the FIRSTHAND Coffee Cooperative, a youth led coffee enterprise started on the WVU campus in 2012.

The One Foundation, located in Beckley, was established in 1999. The Foundation provides more than $1 million annually in grants in the areas of social enterprise development, green energy, community capacity building, and more.

FIRSTHAND Coffee Cooperative sells artisan-roasted coffees in a fair-trade model that shares profits with working communities in both the “coffee lands” and the West Virginia coalfields. 

The grant funds will support the educational and social impact mission of FIRSTHAND Coffee Cooperative, in particular, its new Mountains to Mountains campaign to raise money for income diversification and food sovereignty projects in West Virginia and mountain communities around the world. 

“FIRSTHAND is a one-of-a-kind social enterprise,” said Bradley Wilson, director of the Food Justice Lab. “FIRSTHAND has been student-led from the start and we are excited about these next steps to support expanded educational programming and social impact here in West Virginia, in Appalachia and around the world.”

This is the second grant the One Foundation has provided to the Food Justice Lab to support social enterprise development of FIRSTHAND Coffee Cooperative. Last year, the One Foundation provided $25,000 to support the development of a strategic business plan.

Amanda Marple, a graduate student in WVU’s Department of Geology and Geography, spearheaded the research for the strategic business plan.  Marple said that the One Foundation has been an active partner and staunch supporter of FIRSTHAND for three years.  

“The Food Justice Lab has really served as an incubator for FIRSTHAND Coffee Cooperative as it learns to balance its business, education and social impact missions,” Marple said. “The One Foundation has been a huge part of that in the past year, allowing us to develop the cooperative from a student organization and into a legitimate social enterprise with a sound strategy for growth.” This year, Marple will lead FIRSTHAND’s educational and social impact mission.

The One Foundation gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The fundraising effort by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.



CONTACT: Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation

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