News & Blog

News & Blog

Dec 2012





Enrique Lopez and his family are among the dozens of families receiving food assistance monthly from Fara Foundation.

July through November, 2012 were remarkable months for Fara Foundation — characterized by national and regional press kudos; the selection of our new director, Merriman Morton, a trustee and former chairman of the board for Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas; and the expansion of our Fara Clinic in Nicaragua, as well as our programming there (the family of Enrique Lopez, pictured above, are among several new families brought into Fara’s food-assistance program this summer).

Over the past several months, media outlets such as GivingCity Austin, Coffeetalk, an international trade magazine, and the Austin American-Statesman have covered our evolution. Fara Foundation was spotlighted yet again in a Statesman feature on Sept. 30.

Fara Foundation worked with doctors, nurses and medical staff from Nicaragua, the United States, Italy and Australia in its most comprehensive medical mission to date, August, 2012.

In addition, Fara Foundation entered into a year-long underwriting agreement with KLRU-TV, Austin’s home to public television programming. Our televised “spot” supporting KLRU began appearing in early August and will air every Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. through the summer of 2013. We are pleased to support this vital regional media resource.


August ushered in the foundation’s most comprehensive medical mission to date (for those who don’t know us, Fara Foundation is a nonprofit that provides medical, educational and humanitarian services in Nicaragua’s coffee-growing communities; we bridge resources from the United States with the needs of impoverished families in Nicaragua). From July 29 to August 4, more than 45 doctors, nurses, technicians and non-medical volunteers converged in Matagalpa, Fara’s Nicaraguan base, to provide free or low-cost health care (including major surgery) to qualified residents. Patients — both walk-in and pre-scheduled — received varicose vein treatment, were given audio tests and hearing aids, consulted or treated by gynecologists and cervical cancer specialists — and regional youth were offered general health checkups, and specialty care when needed. Approximately 1,100 people received care.

Most of the families who benefit from our program live in neglected areas on the hillsides outside of Matagalpa. Many have one-room homes, in which kitchen, bedrooms and living spaces are combined. But most are clean and neat families. Here, laundry dries in trees outside one home.

The project represented a departure from Fara Foundation’s previous missions, in that our team — hailing from U.S., Italy, Australia and Nicaragua — provided a range of health care, including pediatric, gynecological, vascular and general practice. (In the past, our missions have focused solely on varicose vein treatment.) Patients were treated at one of two locations: our own Fara Clinic, which in June expanded to include two additional procedure rooms (totaling 2,000 square feet), and the Matagalpa Regional Hospital, which Fara Foundation has worked with closely in the past. This mission took more than a year to plan, including logistics meetings in both the U.S. and Nicaragua. Help us do it again in February, 2013: Contribute to our good works by donating at


Fara Clinic in Matagalpa expanded in summer of 2012. The 2,000-square-foot addition included two large exam rooms — just in time for our medical mission, which served more than 1,000 people in one week.

As we roll into winter and headlong into the holidays, we can’t help but look back proudly at the previous year and a half (Fara incorporated in March 2011). We are hitting our formative stride. This summer’s mission was our fifth mission in 20 months, and we plan another in early 2013.  Word has continued to spread about our services in Nicaragua — so much so that our Matagalpa-based clinic, Fara Clinic (Clinica Fara), needed to expand rapidly this summer. We added two large day-surgery/outpatient/exam rooms, totaling 2,000 square feet. We expect to expand further in the coming months, as demand requires. Also, we will announce our new board of directors in November. So, please join us in celebrating a very busy summer at the foundation. And join us in thanking the media for its accurate and consistent coverage. We couldn’t do it without mindful journalists such as Shelley Seale, Monica Maldondo Williams, Michael Barnes, and the editors at Coffeetalk, a venerable (now 25- year-old) industry publication that highlighted Fara as a “featured article” in its July online and print editions.


By Michael Barnes, Austin American-Statesman staff | Out and About column, Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fara Foundation co-founder and vice president Maria Farahani, with her daughter Leila at “The Giving Ball” hosted by GivingCity Austin. Photo by Michael Barnes, Austin American-Statesman

“The 2012 New Philanthropists, as a whole, are not new to philanthropy. Nor are they, generally, new to Austin. Or even to this world. Rather they add a twist to charity. And that’s why GivingCity Austin magazine recognizes them.

“The 22 awardees, honored during the informal Givers Ball at KLRU’s Studio 6A, were divided into five categories. Some of these names will sound familiar. Others you’ll likely get to know in the future, if I have anything to do with it.

“Rather they add a twist to charity. And that’s why GivingCity Austin magazine recognizes them. The 22 awardees, honored during the informal Givers Ball at KLRU’s Studio 6A, were divided into five categories. Some of these names will sound familiar. Others you’ll likely get to know in the future, if I have anything to do with it.

“Go to the magazine’s website for thumbnail sketches. Another aspect of the ceremony was the announcement of a winner in the UPG Video for Change nonprofit contest. Taking the $5,000 is the “Sweet Tring Sisters.”




PRESS FROM Coffeetalk SUMMER 2012

Coffeetalk magazine’s annual “Making A Difference” issue, which publishes each July, not only included us among the world’s most active coffee-community nonprofits, but it chose to spotlight us as a “featured” organization. Their story from July 2012 follows…



Location: Managua, Nicaragua/Austin, Texas

By Coffeetalk staff and reporter Shermakaye Bass

Fara Foundation, a Texas-based nonprofit promoting cervical cancer prevention and treatment in Nicaragua, is an affair of the heart for Maria and Manny Farahani. The owners of Fara Coffee, a direct-trade gourmet coffee produced in Nicaragua and craft-roasted in Austin, view the cultivation of shade-grown, hand-picked Arabica beans as more than a family tradition — particularly Maria, a fourth-generation coffee farmer from Matagalpa, northern Nicaragua.

Our first scholarship recipient, Yaritza Dolores Munoz Gutierrez, 21 years old. Photographed outside Fara Clinic in Matagalpa.

Scores of volunteers, such as Dona Marlene Cisne, help with our assistance programs in Nicaragua.


As Fara Coffee has become a national brand in the United States, Maria and Manny have used their resources to start Fara Foundation, to bridge resources and needs between the U.S. and Nicaragua. And we’ve grown fast: Over the past three years, Fara Foundation has evolved from a conversation among concerned friends into a state-of-the-art health clinic in Nicaragua, Fara Clinic, which opened in October 2010 and provides virtually free dental and medical care, and ultimately to the 501(c)(3) incorporation of Fara Foundation in March 2011. With a staff of 12, our clinic treats 50 to 80 underserved patients daily and has become a regional center for the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer, the leading killer of Nicaraguan women over 30. Fara Foundation has three other aid programs: Food Assistance, Education, and Elder Care.

As we’ve expanded, so have our reputation and services. By fall of 2012, we will have conducted five intensive medical missions, bringing cleft palate and varicose vein specialists to Matagalpa. Varicose vein disease is pervasive among impoverished laborers throughout the region — hard-working people whose lack of access to medical care can result in severe ulceration and infection of the lower legs, amputation, even death. And we’re pleased to note that Fara Foundation’s focus on cervical cancer is making a clear impact in northern Nicaragua: Since early 2012, Fara Clinic has become the referral hub for four regional health clinics, as well as the Matagalpa Regional Hospital. Fara Clinic is the only facility in the region that can treat in situ cervical cancer with both LEEP procedure and Cryotherapy. Our outreach programs, coordinated by the clinic’s on-staff social workers, canvas the countryside weekly, meeting with coffee workers to educate them to the threat of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that leads to cervical cancer. We know that cervical cancer is preventable and we believe that, with education and better availability of health care, the disease can, one day, be eradicated.

SUMMARY: Fara Foundation’s programs target the underserved in northern Nicaragua, the heart of coffee-growing country. We have four branches of assistance: Fara Clinic (Health Care/Cervical Cancer Prevention), Food Assistance, Education and Elder Care. Health care programming is conducted through our Fara Clinic, based in Matagalpa city and treating more than 60 patients per day; for the poorest, our fee for any service, medical or dental, is approximately $1.25. Each month, our gyno-urologist and her RN see upwards of 100 women who are seeking cervical cancer treatment or early testing for HPV. Our Education programs provide elementary schooling for 35 to 45 students on Fara Coffee’s Finca Santa Rita; we also support regional public schools, fulfilling wish lists (books, athletic equipment, basketball courts, musical instruments, lunches) and we help underwrite Spain-based nonprofit Infancia Sin Fronteras, which feeds and educates 15,000 students daily. Through our Elder Care program, we underwrite 40 percent of the monthly budget for the Hogar de Ancianos San Francisco de Asis, overseen by four nuns from the Order of Santa Anita. And finally, our Food Assistance ensures that 50 of the neediest families in the region have basic provisions each month, including sugar, beans, maize and flour.

Our co-founder, Maria Farahani, comforts a medical mission patient who has suffered from ulcerations since her ankle was broken almost 50 years ago. Our teams healed the infection with state-of-the-art treatment by Dr. Steven Reeder of Dallas.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Fara Foundation accepts financial and in-kind donations. We welcome volunteer services from doctors and nurses around the globe and host regular medical missions in northern Nicaragua. We can always use medical supplies and equipment, construction materials (we often help repair infrastructure in the region) and experts representing any of our four assistance divisions: Food, Elder Care, Education and Health Care/Cervical Cancer Prevention. We also hope you will visit our website, or And “like” us on Facebook



“From Coffee To Clinic: Maria Farahani finds inspiration in Austin to help the people of her native land in Nicaragua.”

By Shelley Seale and Shermakaye Bass

In the mountainous rainforest surrounding Matagalpa, Nicaragua, coffee farming s an intrinsic part of the culture. Maria Farahani was born into one of those coffee-producing families.

“We had been producing coffee for three generations when I was born, and we lived a comfortable life with running water, electricity and telephone,” Farahani was. “But many around us were very poor. That made a big impression on me, and from that time I always wanted to do something to make a difference.” In 1975, Farahani left Nicaragua for college, to attend the University of Texas at Austin where she met her husband, Manny. Together they purchased the coffee farms she’d known as a child and today they roast and sell those “direct-trade” beans at Fara Coffee in Austin. But for the Farahanis, this was not just about coffee. They had a further mission: to provide needed resources for the people of the Matagalpa area. The need was great, especially for medical care: Cervical cancer is the number-one killer of women over 30 in Nicaragua, and vascular disease is also a debilitating problem among impoverished laborers who work on their feet all day. While meeting with local health authorities and nonprofits Austin Samaritans and Grounds for Health, the idea of opening a badly needed health clinic was conceived. Working with local ties and resources,

The Farahanis created the Fara Foundation and opened the Fara Clinic at the end of 2010. “Already it’s become the main referral hub for cervical cancer patients in the entire area,” Farahani reports. “It’s also become a resource for women who need regular health care, and for anyone in the region.” The clinic charges about $1.25 Per visit to a doctor or dentist, and operates a cervical cancer outreach program to women in rural areas. Five medical facilities in the matagalpa area now refer women to the Fara Clinic for cervical cancer screenings or treatment. Using Austin as her home base, Farahani has found that Austinites have embraced Fara Coffee, which in turn helps finance the foundation. “We live between two worlds,” she explains. “One where there are so many resources, medical advances and people with big caring hearts; and another where they also have a big heart but have extremely limited resources. By creating Fara Foundation, we are building a bridge between the two.”

Fore more information on Fara Foundation, visit us at, or contact Shermakaye Bass, Also, contact Fara Foundation’s Austin office, 512-452-9990, or get in touch with Shermakaye Bass,   And don’t forget to “Friend” us on Facebook! 


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