Furnace Hills Coffee in Westminster, Maryland was launched in 2010 by Dave and Erin Baldwin a father and daughter team. Erin is an adult with Down syndrome who was looking for a change while Dave was exploring his enthusiasm for specialty coffee. When their interests collided, Furnace Hills Coffee was born. The Baldwin team has found success with their model of employing people with disabilities while giving a significant amount of their revenues to charities that impact their community.
Boise High School joined Furnace Hills Coffee and The Percolator Fund in a coffee roasting venture called Boise Brave Friends Blend. This unique public/private partnership was created to provide job training opportunities to students with disabilities in high school. A year into the project, students roast a specialty coffee blend on countertop roasters and package the coffee with a custom label. This cottage business has provided valuable opportunities for the students involved and has inspired one student to pursue work in the coffee industry after graduation.
Our Plan – Years One, Two and Three
Year One: The Percolator Fund spent 2018 investing in the Boise Brave Friends Blend project by purchasing additional equipment, providing guidance to staff and students while documenting the coffee roasting processes in a way that is accessible to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We all learned that roasting coffee is as much an art as it is a skill. We are learning and growing together. Thanks to all of our supporters for purchasing our coffee. WE ARE SO THANKFUL FOR YOU!
Year Two: The Percolator Fund will spend 2019 working with students and staff at Boise High School to document and replicate our successes with new students. Furnace Hills Coffee introduced us to our newest partner –York Coffee Roastery in South Carolina.
The amazing staff at this roastery has agreed to share their process with us and other industry partners who are ready to hire people with disabilities.
Year Three: The Percolator Fund will find a home in the Treasure Valley to expand the reach of our coffee venture. The goal is to open a training space that will be accessible to youth and adults with disabilities with an interest in coffee.