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2013 Award for Outstanding Foundation: Stiller Family Foundation

Nominated by Champlain College and the AFP Northern New England Chapter

2013 Stiller 400x533Bob and Christine Stiller are life-long philanthropists.  Bob founded Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury, Vermont in the early 1980’s.  Bob felt the most effective business model was one that engaged all its stakeholders and certainly Coffee Roasters has been a success story for its shareholders, suppliers and the communities where it does business.  Under Bob’s leadership, Coffee Roasters instilled in its employees the need to give back to the community by encouraging employees to volunteer fifty-two hours of time to community causes and regularly sending employees to coffee country to meet their suppliers.  Coffee Roasters and the Stillers personally have been instrumental in the Fair Trade movement, and the company is the largest supplier of Fair Trade Coffee in the world. The company also contributes 5% of its pretax profits to socially and environmentally responsible initiatives focused on coffee growing communities as well as the communities where Coffee Roasters does business throughout the United States.

Bob founded both the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation and Inner Solutions Institute (also a charitable organization).  The charitable work of both these organizations arose almost exclusively from Bob and Christine’s contributions to them.  Coffee Roasters Foundation has funded such diverse projects as TransFair USA, the Five for Water Foundation and Revitalizing Waterbury.    

In 2010, Bob and Christine renamed Inner Solutions Institute to become the Stiller Family Foundation and brought in their children, Jules, David and Christian – each of whom is a philanthropist in her or his own right -- into the giving process.  The Stiller Family Foundation represents a continuation of the Stillers’ decades of charitable giving, and its mission is to provide funding and opportunities to help people help themselves.      

Champlain College, based in Burlington, Vermont, has been one of the largest recipients of the Foundation’s generosity, with grants to the institution of more than $10 million. The Foundation has recently announced a major grant to provide funding for the creation of the Robert P. Stiller School of Business and the establishment of a permanent endowment to promote programs in Appreciative Inquiry and other positive psychology-based management approaches.  In addition, the Foundation and the Stillers have donated generously to Champlain’s Single Parents Program, which is designed to lift single parents out of generational cycles of poverty by providing access to a college degree and financial support for their families.  As a result of Christine Stiller’s leadership and advocacy, more than $330,000 was raised for scholarships from one event, and the College now raises more than $1 million annually for all scholarship programs.  The Foundation is the leading contributor to a major capital campaign at King Street Center in Burlington Vermont, it funded a matching donation of $250,000 to ReBuild Waterbury, an organization founded to assist families heavily impacted by Tropical Storm Irene and also created a full scholarship uniquely designed to assist “C” students who showed promise as they completed high school.

Through a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Palm Beach, the Foundation also supports Society of the Four Arts, Images and Voices of Hope, United Way, Weiss Gifted and Talented School, scholarships at Webster University in St. Louis, the Kravis Center, the Norton Museum and several others.

AFP is pleased to present the 2013 Award for Outstanding Foundation to the Stiller Family Foundation for its commitments locally, nationally and throughout the world.

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