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The Chain Collaborative


The Chain Collaborative, a nonprofit organization based in New York, serves as an intermediary between farmers, cooperatives, nonprofits and other origin-focused organizations and people in the specialty coffee industry.



The Chain Collaborative's mission is to facilitate collaboration among members of the coffee industry and contribute to sustainable development in the coffee lands. They strive to work on projects that are sustainable, community-driven and that respond to many ignored needs in coffee-growing communities.


How it all began

Founder Nora Burkey began her career in coffee in 2007 as a barista in New York City, and her career in international development in 2010 volunteering for a non-profit in Cambodia. Combining her two passions for coffee and development, she began consulting on coffee projects in 2013. Through her experiences in the coffee lands, she saw a need for greater collaboration in the industry in order to achieve more sustainable development in coffee-dependent communities. Dedicated to help meet this need, she was inspired to co-found The Chain Collaborative on 18 July 2014.


The Chain Collaborative creates and facilitates social, environmental, economic, and quality-focused initiatives in coffee-growing and coffee-affected communities through three main tracks:

  1. by partnering with farmers, farmer groups, non-profits, and NGOs working to better livelihoods in the coffee lands;
  2. by helping create and facilitate new projects between members of the coffee industry;
  3. by raising funds and awareness in creative, collaborative ways.


Beliefs and values

"We partner with people already making strides in coffee-growing regions. This means partnering with non-profits who strive to improve resources and access to much-needed services, such as healthcare, education, and finance. Likewise, many cooperatives already have well-working social and technical programming to provide to their member farmers. Collaborating on existing projects allows us to not double resources, but instead double the impact of development work. Development projects will have greater impact and be more sustainable when we pull resources together and encourage collaboration and partnership to reach common goals."


How do they do it?

The Chain Collaborative provides support to projects in the coffee lands in the following ways:

  • developmental support to NGOs and non-profits in coffee-growing regions;
  • connecting coffee companies to projects in coffee-growing regions they can directly support;
  • offering project development, project support and monitoring and evaluation of existing projects in coffee-growing regions;
  • consulting with project sponsors and project beneficiaries to facilitate projects that are sustainable and responsive to the real needs in coffee-dependent communities;
  • working with organizations and coffee companies to pull resources and funds together in creative, collaborative ways.


Where do they do it?

The Chain Collaborative funds programs catalyzed by groups of farmers and farming communities. They develop project plans from start to finish in collaboration with their partner communities, providing expertise and knowledge to ensure the programs they fund are sustainable in the long-term and impactful over time: empowering communities to build their own organizational capacities. Currently there are projects under development in Uganda, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the DRC. 


Sources: Idealist, The Chain Collaborative, Daily Coffee News.


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Type of initiative Company, Information/network organization, Other (specify): Intermediary in the coffee industry
Field of work Services, other, Knowledge and information, Other (non-profit)
Date of commencement 2014
Founder(s) Nora Burkey en Mike Morgenstern
Legal form Non-profit organization
Continent North America
Country United States
City Brooklyn, New York
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Environment, International Relations, International Cooperation, Agriculture, Economic Development, Philanthropy, Poverty and hunger, Health, Community Development
More information Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Contact person(s)

Nora Burkey


Contact information

Name The Chain Collaborative
Zip/postal code
Place Brooklyn
State/province New York
Country USA
Phone +1 917 832 1445



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