Couple creates coffee to benefit Geneva sports, music
|Eric Andersen, owner of FreshGround, talks to students from Wheaton College about coffee, blends and roasts on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (Photo by Colin McAuliffe)|
Eric and Krista Andersen’s coffee business, FreshGround Roasting, is only a year old yet they’ve already decided to use it to give back to Geneva.
The Geneva couple created the Viking Blend, which benefits either the schools’ Sports Boosters or the Music Boosters, depending on which bag is sold.
Organizers at the Music Boosters are wrapping up their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Holiday Wreath Sale, but the club’s president appreciates any help they can get.
“I’m just thankful that (the Andersens) are giving us this opportunity,” said Music Booster President Suzan Farley. “The coffee is great. And the whole fundraiser is easy to administrate.”
She said all they need to do is direct people to the FreshGround website and the Andersens take care of everything from there.
“Geneva Music Boosters exist because of the generosity of our members’ donations and the community support of our fundraisers,” Farley said.
She said revenue from the smaller fundraisers add up and was a little surprised by the extra funding from the sale of the Viking Blend.
“Every little bit helps,” Farley said.
In the first two weeks of sales since the Viking Blend was created in October, Eric Andersen said they already sold several hundreds of dollars worth.
“We’ve had some huge success,” he said.
About 40 percent of the proceeds benefit the Boosters.
The Music Boosters supplement the music programs in Geneva schools which have been taking funding cuts in the past few years.
The music program’s districtwide budget was $21,995 in 2010, down from $27,935 in 2009 and $29,400 the year before.
With a 25 percent budget reduction during these years, the district has become increasingly reliant on third-party fundraising.
The Holiday Wreath Sale alone helps to generate about $15,000.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t really happy with the music programs,” Farley said.
She said Geneva music teachers are very accomplished in their fields and most still play their instruments on a professional level.
Farley said music education is important because studies have proven that it trickles into other academic successes for students.
She added that students also learn a talent they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Even with some budget cuts, Farley said the Geneva music program has remained a high quality and revenue from Booster fundraisers have remained steady despite the recession.
The Andersens are doing what they can to ensure the Geneva music program remains top-notch.
They have two children who attend Geneva High School and two children who attend Geneva middle school who are involved in music and sports.
Eric Andersen said he looked at the numbers for the music and sports programs and figured coffee would be a good sell to raise funding because it’s something most people use, anyway.
“Being that we have kids in Geneva schools, that was a huge deal for us,” Andersen said.
He said they also have a lot of friends whose children attend Geneva schools.
The Andersens’ passion for being community-orientated doesn’t stop at the Viking Blend.
Their West Chicago-based business imports coffee beans from around the world by direct trade.
They work with a foundation called Growers First which ensures that poor farmers in developing nations directly benefit from the sale of their coffee beans.
When he’s not running the business, Andersen is the part-time worship pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Winfield.
He plays the piano and sings and his wife sings.
They hope to expand FreshGround in the future, including by selling at more farmers’ markets.
Andersen said there is a fair amount of competition in selling the second highest traded commodity in the world next to oil, but those in it are always willing to share ideas.
“It’s interesting. It’s almost like a big family business,” Andersen said. “... Everybody’s willing to help each other out.”
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