We invest in many models of addressing poverty, and Fair Trade is a favorite. Our involvement in Fair Trade began in the late 1990s when Hal and a friend in the restaurant business visited Chiapas, Mexico to arrange the purchase of several shipping containers of Fair Trade coffee. The military did not like outsiders coming to assist farming cooperatives: Hal faced Mexican military forces the first year and paramilitary forces the next!

Since that time, the foundation has given many loans to promote Fair Trade businesses. We look forward to not promoting Fair Trade – when trading fairly becomes business as usual.

Fair Trade is about building local, healthy communities and economies in the developing world. Here are just a few of the things we like about it:

Hal and Media Borough Councilwoman Monica Simpson .

Hal and Media Borough Councilwoman Monica Simpson .

    • It is holistic and sustainable
    • It requires no new laws or trading ingredients. Its systems are in place; all that’s needed are more consumers to leverage the number of people it can assist.
    • It is not charity; it is business.
    • There are no slaves or children involved in its production, unlike sources of some non-Fair Trade items, particularly cocoa and sugar.
    • Fair Trade premiums are used to build schools and health centers.
    • Women are on equal par with men in decision-making.
    • Land is farmed sustainably.

The list of great things goes on! Learn more about Fair Trade.

Media, PA – First Fair Trade Town in the US

In 2005, Hal had the idea to make Media, PA, the Foundation’s hometown, the first Fair Trade town in the U.S., and Elizabeth carried that idea to fruition. Neither had any idea they were launching a national movement.  Today, over 32 U.S. towns and cities, including San Francisco and Chicago, have followed suit.  Many more are in the pipeline: Learn more about US Fair Trade Towns.  America’s First Fair Trade Town Committee  is now its own independent 501(c)3 organization that continues to educate people about Fair Trade here in Media, PA.

World-wide, there are over 1,100 Fair Trade towns spanning five continents and 23 countries: Learn more about international Fair Trade Towns.

In 2008, we helped host the first Fair Trade Live Concert, an amazing event attended by over 5,000 people.

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