Flying High Coffee awarded Wolf Aviation grant

Flying High Coffee, which donates a portion of its profits to general aviation non-profit organizations, has won a Wolf Aviation Fund grant.

In an email to Rob Riggen, Flying High Coffee’s founder and president, Wolf Aviation Fund’s Rol Morrow writes, “We would like to provide you with a grant for your project, indicating our high opinion of it.”

The revenue to fund aviation not-for-profit programs comes from the consumption of one of the most fundamental liquids in the aviation industry: Coffee, Riggen says.

“Flying High Coffee exists to solve two problems in aviation: An abundance of poor quality coffee and no source of stable revenue for aviation’s hundreds of diverse and passion-driven not-for-profit programs,” he said. “Our industry loses many millions of dollars annually by sending the profit from our coffee consumption to non-aviation corporations. At the same time we have hundreds of not-for-profit programs doing outreach — the most critical work in our industry — struggling for funding.”

All too often these programs don’t last — and aviation loses valuable experience and resources as a result, he adds.

Riggen notes that while many aviation companies contribute generously to programs, the funds come at a high cost to the small organizations who run them. “A man who operates an aviation not-for-profit approach me at Sun ’n Fun this year and revealed he can only spend about 6 cents on programs for every dollar he collects through donations.”

The vision for Flying High Coffee is to establish a relationship with a program and to begin funding at a certain level. Over time, that funding level will increase even as other programs are added. “We’re not talking about writing a check and making people come back to ask for more. We want to get their bank account routing number and stream money in their account. As long as they’re running the program, we’ll keep the funds flowing,” Riggen says, noting that for the first time for many of these programs, they will be able to budget against the funds they receive.

Funds from the Wolf grant will be applied toward the company’s main marketing effort,  which is to set up our temporary coffee shops at aviation events and expos. “Our next planned event is the EAA’s AirVenture 2012 in Oshkosh, where we will be providing the daily lift for thousands of exhibitors, ATC, volunteers and airshow attendees,” he says. “The exposure we gain through attending events such as AirVenture, AOPA Summit, Sun ’n Fun (and hopefully others) is the primary driver for our business to consumer sales and corporate contracts. Sales of coffee by-the-pound via our website and corporate contracts between these events is the lifeblood of our program.”

Riggen estimates that aviation consumes about $1 billion annually in coffee, which translates into a lot of lost profit. Riggen also notes it is not Flying High Coffee that will fund aviation’s outreach programs — but the people and companies who choose to buy Flying High Coffee who will fund aviation’s outreach programs.

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