Mountains photos.jpg

Our team

FT bio pic.jpg


Fiona Tanner  

Director and Co-Founder

Fiona's experience in Papua New Guinea building an exporting coffee company with 2,345 certified organic and rainforest alliance members, and commitment to working with communities to create meaningful and sustainable changes as part of maintaining their connection and stewardship to land, are now finding a new home in Uganda to do the same type of work.


So how does Papua New Guinea, Uganda, and the US all come together?


When co-Director Mr. Smith read an article and book about his old school friend John Quinlan and his coffee experiences in Papua New Guinea, he reconnected with him and shared personal ideals and goals on helping mountain gorillas and coffee communities in Uganda.

Many cups of coffee over numerous occasions resulted in their first trip to Uganda to meet the Director of Gorilla Highlands Coffee, Rugaya Richie, and exploring ways on how to begin this work of meaningful changes for frontline coffee communities in SW Uganda.


A year later, after discussions on what were some of the most pressing needs in the communities and what can be done for creating sustainable changes,  we set up this foundation focusing on specific projects. 


We invite you to be a part of this work. 

IMG_1237 2.JPG


Mr. Smith

Founding Director

Our founding Director Mr. Smith believes that being open to different perspectives and cultures is critical if societies are to become more fair and equitable.

Coffee is a connector - when you invite someone over for coffee, it means taking the time to slow down, to have deeper and more meaningful conversations.

Coffee brought him together with Fiona and onwards to Uganda, where, in his own words, he "found my heart in Uganda". The beauty of the land, the creatures, and most importantly, the people, impacted him enough to want to share his experiences with others and to encourage them in their own way to contribute to good purposeful work.


Thus our foundation was set - as a way to bridge, connect, heal, and achieve sustainable and meaningful changes, and along the way, invite others to enjoy their daily coffee and through this simple gesture, contribute and be a part of our noble ideals.



Karen Marshall


Communications and Development Director 

Karen has a heart for humankind and for animals and joins this team to contribute to the communications and development of the foundation's goals. Karen has had significant experience with fundraising in her previous roles, with 25 years of experience in the suicide prevention field and other non-profits. 

Richard Rugaya

Advisor to the Board

Quinlan_TEDx 4.jpg


John Quinlan


John left the comfortable village of Grosse Pointe Michigan to live in remote rainforest village communities in Papua New Guinea while building the coffee company with Fiona. Several years of being very open to different cultures and experiences have left him with a deep appreciation of how what may be considered "small changes" in a western setting may be tremendous changes in remote communities. As a change agent Executive Coach focused on building sustainable organizations, John's expertise is appreciated as we develop requested programs to bring about the change these communities are embracing.


Brian Blatt

Advisor to the Board 


In 2004 Brian took his father gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park and fell in love with the exceptional hospitality of the Kisoro regional people. He believes protecting habitats is key to maintaining recent gorilla population gains, and that sustainable coffee production can play a central role in this. 

Brian brings over 20 years experience of travelling and working in East Africa. In 2006 he founded a non-profit focused on education which has provided insights on best practices and how to involve and empower local communities to bring about lasting change.


Richard's role as Founder of Gorilla Highlands Coffee Association and his role as Advisor in Noble Gorilla Foundation will contribute to our vision of meaningful and sustainable changes for his community.

Rugaya Bio picture.jpg