Partners for Change on

Partners For Change – Mercy Corps

— By: The Team at Nau

Now that we’ve announced our New Partners for Change Program, we’d like to re-introduce each of our Partners. We will share examples that are representative of why we asked each of these progressive environmental and humanitarian organizations to be our partners.

The first one I’d like you to meet is Mercy Corps. Since it was founded 29 years ago, they’ve done work in 106 countries and have over 3,500 employee’s. Mercy Corps mission is “to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.”

Our relationship to Mercy Corps goes back to the early days of Nau when we first put together our Partners for Change program in 2006. Mercy Crops North American headquarters is here in our hometown of Portland, OR and is well-loved by our community for the work they do here in the U.S and overseas.

Since I started working with Nau almost two years ago, I’ve spent many hours perusing
through the endless amount of articles and information posted on the Mercy Corps website about their programs. Recently I found a project; the Community Health and Advancement Initiative (CHAI), that really sparked my interest. I think this program exemplifies the kind of social impacts that are possible when people get together to collectively work toward creating social change.

In 2002 Tazo Tea another Portland based company, partnered with Mercy Corps and launched the CHAI program in Darjeeling India. This specific region in India has some of the finest tea in the world and accounts for much of Tazo’s tea supply. The CHAI program focuses on three things for the garden groups in Darjeeling: improved water quality and access to clean water, vocational training, and development and implementation of self-governing bodies.

The particularly intriguing part of this program is how it’s funded; tea growers, traders, and brokers, each contribute a portion of their Tazo sales to support the program. The combine contributions result in a total of about 11% of the final sale of the tea going to the CHAI program. No one company in the supply chain is burdened with the entire 11% contribution; which makes it manageable for everyone involved. Tyson (Nau’s graphic designer) and I particularly like this one because the local communities in Darjeeling are supported by both Tazo as well as local businesses.

Mercy Corps is just one of many organizations finding new ways to improve the lives of people around the world. We believe in the work they’re doing, and hope you do too.


Words by Josie Norris.