Serve Well Blog


Joseph Whinney | 2012 Krista Foundation GCA Honoree- Developing World

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Business, Community, Environment, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Sustaining Service

Joe WhinneyThe Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship announced the selection of Joseph Whinney to be honored with a Global Citizen Award for embodying a life of service leadership in the Developing World.

Joseph Whinney, Founder and CEO of Theo Chocolate, is a leader in fair trade business. As young adult conservation volunteer, Whinney recognized opportunities to improve the environmental and economic livelihood of farmers in the cacao industry. Through Whinney's service leadership, Theo Chocolate is making a ripple effect: improving conditions for farmers, educating chocolate consumers, and gaining recognition as leading model of conscious capitalism.

"A global citizen recognizes, nurtures and strengthens constructive relationships between local communities and their global impact," says Krista Foundation Executive Director Valerie Norwood. "Joseph Whinney not only understands the global-local interconnection, he lives out an ethic of mutuality through Theo Chocolate. He is inspired both by farmers seeking education and basic quality of life, and also by Theo customers. Together they create a movement of healthy stewardship globally and locally. For the young adult service volunteers across the world connected to Krista Foundation programs, Whinney's example shows how business offers creative and effective tools to transform social and environmental challenges."

Whinney is one of three mid-career professionals from the Puget Sound region to be honored by the Krista Foundation for exemplifying the qualities of Global Citizenship; service leadership that creates community and sustainable futures for people and the environment.

The 2012 Krista Foundation Global Citizen Award recipients will be formally announced and honored at a public event on Sunday, March 4th, 7:00 pm in the Campion Ballroom at Seattle University. The three honorees demonstrate the event theme: "The Ripple Effect: Service changes you. Service changes the world." Tickets for the event are available by contacting The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship at 206-382-7888 or This is an RSVP-Only event.

Global Citizen Award recipients are selected for demonstrating the Krista Foundation values: intercultural competence, adaptive leadership, young adult empowerment, respect for spiritual values, global-local connection, and service as a way of life. The other 2012 Global Citizen Award recipients to be honored are:

Sharon London, Strategic Initiatives Director, EarthCorps (Environment)
Trise Moore, Family and Community Partnership Advocate, Federal Way School District (Urban United States)

About the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship: Founded in 1999, The Krista Foundation honors the life and vision of Krista Hunt Ausland who died at age 25 while volunteering with her husband in rural Bolivia. Through mentoring, a colleague community and re-integration services, the Krista Foundation helps young adults fully understand and employ the learnings from their service experience. A service year, when nurtured, becomes a life of service leadership. The Krista Foundation provides ongoing program connections for more than 200 Krista Colleagues and offers program development resources and services, including The Global Citizen journal, for local universities and volunteer service organizations.

Link to KF Ripple Effect Event Page

Link to KF Ripple Effect Facebook Page

Krista Colleague endorsement for Joe Whinney by Joe Tobiason

As a Krista Colleague, and a former international service volunteer, I'm so impressed with what Joe Whinney is doing with Theo Chocolate. I'm also excited he was recently selected by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship to receive a 2012 Global Citizen Award in the area of Developing World.

Theo, located in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, is making a ripple effect in so many important ways. Theo is the first and only organic fair trade chocolate maker in the United States. The words "fair trade" get tossed around a lot, but I learned through my volunteer experience in Lima, Peru, that those words have the power to break the cycle of poverty and change lives.

Women from Cooperative, Jodi 2nd from right, J Tobiason PhotographyWorking alongside women in the Bridge of Hope Fair Trade Organization opened my eyes to how good trade practices can lift entire communities out of abject poverty and into a life that is healthier and safer. Over my year of service I built deep connections with an artisan community called El Mercurio in the town of Huancavelica. The group was begun by a woman named Jodi (pictured second from right- J Tobiason Photography). During my visit, I had the privilege of translating her story for a group of international visitors.

She shared that she was just a normal housewife who needed to find a way to make some extra money. She had some friends who had heard about this fair trade. They got in contact with the Red Uniendo Manos and their Fair Trade branch. With access to export tools, they started their group, named after the chemical that continued to contaminate their town. They began to produce small stuffed animals and their most well-known llamas. To hear Jodi talk about how this fair trade organization had changed her life showed me the incredible value of tools for poverty relief. Not only did this give her family some extra money so that her kids could go to school, but it changed the way her house worked. Her husband was no longer the only money-maker and thus he had to shift the way he looked at her. The family became more equitable and she had never felt so respected. Her transformation is something that can only be truly understood by looking at the smile on her face every time she talked about Fair Trade.

Joe Whinney, Theo Chocolate, and the chocolate loving community are making a real impact. Consider the connections that his company has built with its growers. They use the Fair Trade principles because this is the middle way for commerce that honors the value in all parts of the process. The fair trade community Joe Tobiason, Krista Colleagueseeks to provide wages that are equitable and fair for workers on the ground, while still providing the highest quality possible. Theo really exemplifies this as it is known throughout the Northwest for producing some of the best chocolates. But the fair trade principles don't end when the cacao beans are in shipment: Joe has ensured that it continues all the way through Theo employees. The company is known for helping its own people to grow in their skills and truly thrive in the community. Theo exemplifies how trade can benefit the growers, the sellers and the buyers and has made Fair Trade principles a reality in Seattle.

Just take their tour and you'll be buzzing about Theo too. Then come and celebrate Joe Whinney and Theo Chocolate when he receives the 2012 Global Citizen Award on March 4th at Seattle University. Learn more at:

Joe Tobiason is a 2008 Krista Colleague. He currently resides in Greenlake and works at Big Fish Games in Seattle. He has a serious passion for photography. (@JTobiasonPhoto on Twitter or J Tobiason Photography on Facebook)


There are currently no comments for this entry.

Comments are closed.