Ellen DeGeneres and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has been one of Thanksgiving Coffee’s longest partnerships, and we’ve had the pleasure of donating over $40,000, with the help of our customers and wholesale partners.

The DFGFI has been working tirelessly for fifty years to continue the legacy of Dian Fossey, in protecting the magnificent mountain gorillas of Africa. First in Rwanda, and now expanding into the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has changed the way the world thinks about gorillas, and has preserved and documented five decades of gorillas in the mountains of the Virungas.

Now, they are going to be able to do even more, with the extraordinary donation from Portia De Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres. On January 26, Ellen’s 60th birthday, Portia gave Ellen the gift of furthering Dian Fossey’s legacy and joining the DFGFI by establishing a permanent research center in Rwanda.

Ellen and Portia for Dian Fossey

You can see the video on YouTube, of Portia surprising Ellen on her show with this spectacular gift.

This is a huge step forward for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, allowing them to expand their research in this specially-designed facility. President and CEO Tara Stoinski, Ph.D. said this about the gift:

“It’s impossible to overstate what this remarkable news means for the protection of these magnificent animals. We have continued Dian’s legacy for 50 years, and this new campus will serve as a brilliant focal point for our efforts to protect wild gorillas over the next decades.”

Dian Fossey in Rwanda

We are so excited to be able to watch as this new partnership grows and matures. Portia De Rossi also set up a Wildlife Fund in Ellen’s name: the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. This fund will begin by supporting the Karisoke research facility, and will continue to take on projects for other wildlife preservation causes in the future.

Thanksgiving Coffee wants to give a huge thank you to Ellen and Portia for this amazing donation to the future of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.


About the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The DFGFI was established in 1967 by Dian Fossey. She set up a research facility in the country of Rwanda, dedicated to the preservation and documentation of the mountain gorillas living in the Virunga wilderness. After her death in 1985, the organization continued her work in monitoring and protecting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and later the Grauer’s gorillas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Thanksgiving Coffee and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International partnered in early 2004 to create the Gorilla Fund Cause Coffee, using Fairtrade Rwandan coffee. In 2017, we launched our Grauer’s Gorilla Coffee, using Organic and Fairtrade coffee grown in the Congo. Through the fourteen years we’ve worked with the DFGFI, we’ve raised over $40,000 to support these gorillas.

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Fossey

In the fall of 1967, 35 year old Dian Fossey of San Francisco founded the Karisoke Research Center in the Virunga mountains of Rwanda.

Dr. Fossey's Birthday

Dr. Fossey would have turned 86 on January 12, 2018. In honor of her birthday, we are featuring our coffees from Rwanda and the Congo: two single origins that directly benefit the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Her shoes may be hard to fill, but the DFGFI continues to lead the charge for gorilla conservation in Africa, and education across the globe.

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We are excited to begin yet another year in partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and we look forward to many more to follow.


The pictures below are from the @savinggorillas social media accounts, from the years that Dr. Fossey was living and working among the gorillas in Rwanda.

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Thanksgiving Coffee Company
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup

The Continuing Songbird Coffee Legacy

We don’t want to brag, but Thanksgiving Coffee Company actually has the best customers of all time. Because you purchased Songbird Coffee in 2017, we were able to raise over $9,000 for the American Birding Association. That’s $9,000 last year alone that directly funded birding education and conservation initiatives.

2018 marks fifty years of the American Birding Association providing leadership to recreational birders all over the United States. This group has been a pioneer for decades, and has inspired millions of young birders and conservationists through classes, workshops and conferences all over North America.

For the past 22 years, Thanksgiving Coffee Company has been a proud part of this legacy, educating birders and coffee drinkers about the ecology of coffee farms, and how they play an integral role in the lives of many of the birds we know and love. We took a leading role in preserving bird habitat by introducing Songbird Coffee in 1996, and we have continued to purchase from farms that grow their coffee organically, under the canopy of native forests.

Best Coffee in the World

The introduction of the Bird-Friendly Coffee program was another huge step toward uniting the coffee and birding industries. This certification was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 1998 and now represents the very highest standards of ecological sustainability, protecting habitat for migratory birds in coffee growing countries. We are proud to feature that seal on our nine Certified Bird-Friendly coffees in our online store.

Bird Friendly Coffee

We are birders ourselves, and constantly striving to provide coffee that not only tastes magnificent, but provides for the migratory birds that we love to watch every season.

Read more about Bird-Friendly Coffee from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, or shop for Bird-Friendly Coffee here on the Thanksgiving Coffee website.

Thanksgiving Coffee Company
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
2017 Roaster of the Year

Coffee Aid to Puerto Rico

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4’s 155 mph winds barreled across the island, leaving 3.4 million residents without power and destroying about 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s crops, including 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s coffee farms. What had taken farmers generations to build was completely lost and decimated within a few hours. Rich jungle forests filled with coffee trees, the pride of Puerto Rico, have been reduced to little more than barren branches and twisted stumps.

Of all the agricultural products produced on the island, few have the same cultural heartbeat as coffee. Puerto Rican coffee used to be called the “coffee of popes and kings,” because in the 19th century the Vatican exclusively served Puerto Rican coffee. For many Puerto Ricans, coffee is far more than an agricultural product- it’s part of their national identity.

While we continue to hear about the devastation and slow return of basic services to the island, there has been a clear cry from the people of Puerto Rico for a taste of home. Unfortunately, coffee is considered a ‘luxury item’ by many aid organizations, which means that doctors, nurses, teachers, and construction workers on the island are doing their best to overcome the impossible, without the aid of their favorite beverage. We think the hard working people of Puerto Rico deserve the dignity and normalcy only a cup of coffee can deliver, now more than ever before, and Thanksgiving Coffee is here to help.

Two very different non-profit organizations have joined forces to start a Coffee Aid Drive to get coffee to the people of Puerto Rico: The Hogwarts Running Club and Convoy of Hope. Since it’s inception only a few short years ago, the Hogwarts Running Club has combined the fandom of the Harry Potter book series and running for health and fitness into an online organization 60k strong that has raised over $1.2 million in charitable donations. Convoy of Hope has been around since 1994 and specializes in the transportation and distribution of food and supplies for disaster relief. Together, these two groups are gathering donations for 12-16oz packages of caffeinated, pre ground coffee to send to Puerto Rico.

When Thanksgiving Coffee was approached about the Coffee Aid drive, we knew we could make a real difference to the people of Puerto Rico by helping to send delicious, ethically sourced coffee with a message of love. So far, over 600 packages of coffee have been ordered from Thanksgiving Coffee and over 2,000 packages have been donated to the Coffee Aid Drive. Would you like to contribute? You still can!

From now until December 10th, you can buy a bag of our special Coffee Aid coffee Salazar’s Brew for just $8- no tax, no shipping. Each bag includes the price of shipping it to the Convoy of Hope warehouse where all the Coffee Aid donations will be sent until the December 15th deadline. After that, tons of donated coffee packages will be palletized and transported to the island to help the people of Puerto Rico enjoy the familiar taste of home.

Puerto Rico’s road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, but perhaps it will be a bit more bearable with a cup of coffee in hand.

Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.

Wolf Awareness Week 2017

October 15 – October 21

This week, it’s all about the wolves. These magnificent creatures play an integral part in North America’s ecosystem, and Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with Defenders of Wildlife to protect their legacy. During Wolf Awareness Week, we’re taking a moment to highlight wolves, and the part that each of us can play in protecting these animals for future generations. Spread the word about Wolf Awareness Week, and visit www.defenders.org to make a donation now!

Scroll down to learn more about how Thanksgiving Coffee is involved in protecting our wolves.

What do you know about our wolves? Take a look at the fact sheet below to learn more, and click the image to be directed to the Defenders of Wildlife Gray Wolf Basic Facts page.

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Defenders of Wildlife + Thanksgiving Coffee

Thanksgiving Coffee is partnered with Defenders of Wildlife to save our wolves. We do this through our Cause Coffee program, donating 10% of every sale of our Save Our Wolves Coffee back to DOW. If you sign up as a Defenders of Wildlife member and purchase this coffee through the Shop Defenders page, you can give back even more! For every purchase made through their link, 25% of the proceeds will be donated.

This week, order a bag of coffee for your best friend, and let them know that with every sip of Save Our Wolves Coffee, they’re helping to preserve the future of wolves in North America for generations to come. Thanks for helping us support Defenders of Wildlife!

Coffee Benefiting Defenders of Wildlife

Learn more about roast colors, to choose the right roast for you!

Grauer’s Gorillas in Congo’s Maiko Park

Read the original Mariko Park blog post on the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International website.

Results of a recent wildlife survey led by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in the Democratic Republic of Congo suggests there are twice as many Grauer’s gorillas in parts of Maiko National Park than originally predicted. This is especially welcome news given that Grauer’s gorillas are among world’s most-endangered apes and face numerous threats to their survival, with only a few thousand still remaining. Their population is estimated to have plummeted as much as 80 percent in recent decades.

Save Congolese Gorillas

The greatest threat to Grauer’s gorillas and other wildlife in the region is poaching, which is largely fueled by the illegal trade in conflict minerals. In 2010, legislation was passed which required U.S. companies to disclose whether their products contained conflict minerals. Just this last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment that would defund this “conflict minerals rule.” If this measure is passed by the Senate, it will bring additional pressure to this species’ survival.

“Maiko is a huge park — with more than 10,000 square kilometers — and it is critical habitat to the future conservation of Grauer’s gorillas and many other species of wildlife,” says Dr. Damien Caillaud, the Fossey Fund’s research director for Congo. “Recent reports suggested as few as 15 gorillas remained. We hoped that if we looked for more gorillas there, we might find them. And we did.”

In the relatively small portion of the park that researchers were able to survey, they located evidence of more gorilla groups than expected and now estimate at least 30 gorillas live in that area, with likely more living throughout other areas of the park that have yet to be surveyed.

Maiko National Park is one of only two formally protected areas within the Grauer’s gorilla range. However, Maiko had not been surveyed for gorillas for many years, primarily as a result of security challenges in the region and the difficult terrain.

“We surveyed less than 1 percent of the park and found evidence that more gorillas exist there than has been recently suggested. This is very exciting and demonstrates the critical need for more surveys to fully understand how many gorillas remain as well as more conservation support for the park”, says Dr. Tara Stoinski, Fossey Fund president and CEO/chief scientist.

The survey team also found signs of chimpanzees, okapi, buffalo, duikers, giant pangolin, monkeys and other rare wildlife, as well as evidence of poachers and mining activity.

The Fossey Fund works to protect Grauer’s gorillas in a core area of their range outside national parks, by working with local communities and traditional landowners, and training local people to become gorilla trackers, with five teams now working regularly from a permanent base north of the town of Walikale.

Collaborating with local communities and authorities

The Maiko survey represents a collaborative effort between the Fossey Fund, the Congolese national park authorities (ICCN — Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) and the local community living around the park. Fossey Fund’s Congo program director, Urbain Ngobobo, and research and conservation program manager, Escobar Binyinyi, worked with Maiko chief warden, M.A. Boji Dieudonné, to survey gorillas and other crucial wildlife in a 100-square kilometer section of the park.

A team of nine Fossey Fund field staff, as well as monitoring officers from Maiko/ICCN walked for several weeks in extremely difficult terrain, measuring signs of gorillas along pre-determined transects. They found good, fresh signs of the presence of gorillas, such as night nests, foot prints and food remains, suggesting there are two to three Grauer’s gorilla groups just in this area, says Dr. Caillaud.

“A few years ago, it was unimaginable that the community surrounding southern Maiko could make a joint patrol with ICCN,” says Ngobobo. “The survey we did was a strong signal showing that we can count on the community to save the remaining extremely endangered Grauer’s gorillas both inside the national parks and in the community forests.”

These findings are especially heartening as the Fossey Fund celebrates its 50th anniversary on Sept. 24, marking the day in 1967 when Dian Fossey founded the legendary Karisoke Research Center. But they are also very critical, given the potential de-funding of the conflict minerals rule, which has brought some progress and international attention to the mining situation in Congo.

With the Fossey Fund’s daily mountain gorilla patrols and 50 years of research all based out of Karisoke, it is known that intensive protection can save endangered gorillas. Indeed, mountain gorillas are the only wild ape whose numbers are stable.

That’s why we are raising funds this month to protect the future of all gorillas! Because of this urgency, our board is matching all donations through Sept. 24, up to $20,000.

Visit the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International website to join this special campaign!


Thanksgiving Coffee Company has partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International for almost fifteen years, supporting their efforts in Rwanda, saving the mountain gorillas. Earlier in 2017, we had the honor of releasing a new Cause Coffee to support the Grauer’s gorillas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sing a Song of Bird Notes

Song Bird Coffee supports the arts

Do you have a favorite bird? Is it the bold blue jay, or the striking red cardinal? Perhaps it’s the mischievous raven, or the sweet singing sparrow? Maybe you don’t know what it’s called, or even what it looks like, but you know its song as it fills your ears with a familiar refrain. Birds connect us to nature, regardless of where we live; from city dwelling pigeons to dramatic California Condors, birds are an ever-present aspect of our lives, but their numbers are dwindling. You don’t have to be an avid birder to enjoy their presence, but if we fail to appreciate them in our everyday lives, then we risk taking them for granted and losing them forever.

Fostering a love of the natural world can take years, especially now when more of us live in cities than ever before. Programs like BirdNote cultivate a love of nature with a wide audience, helping to bring the outside into our homes and deliver the delights of nature in small, auditory morsels.

The BirdNote radio program has been engaging listeners of all ages for over ten years, sharing daily two-minute stories about birds and the environment with audiences all across the country. These uplifting little vignettes are just the right length for everyone to enjoy, and the perfect remedy to ‘news fatigue’.

BirdNote and Song Bird Coffee

Song Bird Coffee has been partnered with the American Birding Association for 20 years and together we have raised over $150,000 in support of the ABA and Partners in Flight, which funds ornithological studies of migratory birds in Central America. Together, we are making a difference by promoting citizen science, ecotourism, and sustainable Bird Friendly farming practices, and now we are proud to be reaching new audiences by sponsoring BirdNote.

Birdnote Sponsorship

By working together, Song Bird Coffee, the American Birding Association, and BirdNote are committed to making the world a better place, for us and for the birds.

Give BirdNote a listen here.

Learn more about the American Birding Association and Partners in Flight.

Best for the World, Best for Community

It’s that time of year again, when the Best for the World honorees are published. These are the B Corporations around the world that score in the top 10% of B Lab certification. Thanksgiving Coffee was honored to make this list for the second year in a row in the Best for Community category.

Take a peek at the full list by clicking the image below.

This year 846 companies were recognized on the Best for the World list in 52 different industries from 30 different countries. Being a part of this community and being recognized in the top 10% is a really wonderful validation of the work we do with our partnership with organization like Friends of the Earth and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

Take a look at where some of the other Best for the World companies are located all over the globe:

Best for the World

Best for the World in Mendocino County

Thanksgiving Coffee is just one of nine B Corporations located here in Mendocino County. We’re joined by Harvest Market, Fetzer Vineyards, North Coast Brewing Company, The Color Mill, Flo Beds, Bed Bandits, Eleek Sustainable Custom Lighting and Heather Paulsen Consulting.

Harvest Market also made the Best for the World list, under the Changemakers category, as did Eleek, under the Best for the Environment category. We love seeing our local B Corporations making a difference here in Mendocino county, and around the world.

Read more about what it means to be on the Best for the World list, on Forbes.com.

You can also check out our score on the B Corporation website, to see how we stand up in every category! See that here: bcorporation.net

National Honey Bee Day

August 19 is National Honey Bee Day!

Support the bees with Bee Bold Coffee!

National Honey Bee Day

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Raising Awareness for Honey Bees

What’s the best way to celebrate National Honey Bee Day? Raise awareness for the plight of the bees – and learn more about what you can do to help. Take a moment to read the Friends of the Earth bee action page on protecting our pollinators, and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. This is a great way to raise awareness and inform your friends. Continue to scroll through that page for more information on pesticides, and the way neonicotinoids are hurting our bees.

Here’s an excerpt from the Friends of the Earth website:

Bees and other pollinators are responsible for 1 in 3 bites of food we eat. Without them, grocery stores would run short of some of our most important and nutritious foods. Coffee? You’ll need to cut back. Nuts and berries for breakfast? I don’t think so. A yummy salad? Your bowl will be nearly empty.

Pollinators are in great peril; their populations are declining around the world. Friends of the Earth works to eliminate pollinator-toxic pesticides like neonicotinoids and glyphosate and shift to organic farming systems that are healthier for bees, butterflies, people and the planet.

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Thanksgiving Coffee Beekeepers

Did you know that Thanksgiving Coffee Company has it’s own beehive now? Back in June, bees swarmed in our apple orchard, and members of the Bee Bold Mendocino and local Mendocino Coast Beekeeping group helped us guide the swarm into our own beehive. Take a look at the video below!

Join the conversation on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+.

Thanksgiving Coffee Company
• Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup •

A Small Investment with Big Returns – Mendocino Woodlands Camp

Going to camp and spending time in nature should not be a luxury afforded to the few, but the birthright of all Americans. More people live in cities now than ever before, and access to wild places is limited. We need the next generation to care about open spaces, clean water, and fresh air, even while they live in a city, which is why it is our responsibility to insure that kids from all walks of life have access to the great outdoors.

The Mendocino Woodlands, a registered National Historic Landmark, is one the original 46 Recreation Demonstration Areas planned and built as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Today, it is one of only two RDAs still in operation, serving its original purpose of group camping and outdoor education, without interruption and virtually unaltered, since opening in 1938.

Each year, over 1,000 youths attend the various Mendocino Woodlands Camps. For many, this will be their first time exploring under a canopy of redwood trees, or seeing the night sky filled with stars. During their stay they will learn about flowers, and trees, and wild animals. They will sing songs, play games, make friends, and most of all, they will have happy memories of the great outdoors to cherish forever. Together, we must all be invested in the outdoor education of our kids, and now you, too, can lend a hand.

Mendocino Woodlands

After many years and countless miles, the loyal Woodlands flatbed truck is ready for retirement. Without this vital piece of equipment, they will be unable to transport supplies in and out of the remote campground. The Mendocino Woodlands has served the community through thick and thin for almost 80 years, and now they need our help.Mendo Woodlands

Thanksgiving Coffee is a proud supporter of the Mendocino Woodlands. In addition to their Cause Coffee, we are spreading the word about their fund-raising campaign for a new truck. We hope you will consider a small investment in the next generation by pitching in, or buying a bag or two of their Restore & Explore Cause Coffee. Lend a hand and raise your cup to the Mendocino Woodlands, a true American legacy.

Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.

Woodlands of Mendocino

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