The Lucy Foundation is a social enterprise dedicated to creating an inclusive workplace, employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and great coffee.
Neither a charity, nor a business, the Lucy Foundation is a hybrid. As founder Robbie Francis explains, it is a “business where all the profits are put back into social impact”.
What is more remarkable than the foundation itself is that its founders had no experience with charities, business or disability issues.
“My field is peace and conflict. I had never really engaged with anything disability-related, even though I’ve lived with a disability my whole life,” Robbie says.
After seeing people with disabilities who did not have the same advantages that she had, Robbie felt she had a responsibility to do something.
“I felt that now that I had seen it and experienced it, and held these peoples’ hands, that I actually had a responsibility to do something about it.”
Robbie came back to NZ and began to make plans with her family and friends.
“We love coffee, and part of the coffee culture here in New Zealandit was something that we knew thatour friends and our community would pay more for if they knew it was coming from an ethical source,”Robbie says.
The Lucy Foundation found the perfect site for its first project in theMexican province of Oaxaca Home to a population of 3000, the mountainous community of Pluma Hidalgo is renowned for its unique coffee crop.
Her friends Jess and Ryan Sanders, along with their children Ebony and Lorenzo, agreed to move to Mexicoto work on the project on the ground fulltime. At the moment they are working with five families, all who are affected by disabilities.
“They’re doing an incredible job collaborating with local people with and without disabilities to ensure that they can really put the time and effort into their crops, that they need to have good crop and restore nutrients to the land,” Robbie says.
Robbie cannot believe how much they have done since then. “It’s three years later, and we’ve got people on the ground and we’re about to have our first mini-coffee harvest. It’s been a wild journey I think,” Robbie says.
For more information about the Lucy Foundation, check out their website.