Founder and Executive Director
Bill Fishbein began his journey in specialty coffee in 1977. He started Coffee Exchange in Providence, RI on a shoestring loan from a friend. As the business grew, he was faced with the reality that his income was directly related to the struggle faced by small-scale coffee-farming families. In 1988 Bill started Coffee Kids, a non-profit organization funded by coffee roasters, coffee retailers, coffee wholesalers and others in the specialty coffee trade. It was the first non-profit organization to work exclusively on behalf of small-scale coffee farmers to help them improve their quality of life. In 2008 Bill left Coffee Kids to make room for a younger generation of leadership, and created the Coffee Trust to continue his work on behalf of small-scale coffee farmers and their families. For the past 26 years, Bill has worked with coffee farming communities in several Latin American countries. Because of his innovative and grassroots approach to development and sustainability, he was featured in the PBS documentary, The Visionaries, and was later presented with the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s highest honor, The SCAA Lifetime Achievement Award.