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Empowerful Podcast: Jack Karuletwa, Founder of Silverback Coffee

The Empowerful Podcast was created to share the profound stories of movers and shakers who are positively impacting the world. Together, we believe we can amplify that change. We live by the motto of an old African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”


Grab a coffee and tune in to our latest Empowerful Podcast with CustoMiiR partner Silverback Coffee.

Founder and CEO, Jack Karuletwa, takes us on his life journey from escaping Rwanda during the Tutsi genocide, becoming a Harlem Globetrotter, to launching Silverback Coffee, a mission-driven coffee brand that sources 100% of its coffee from Rwanda and donates a portion of its proceeds to support gorilla conservation. Spoiler alert -- There was even an acting stint for Taco Bell on his path!

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Jack operates Silverback Coffee with a simple mission, “...help the poorest coffee farmers realize their value, empower the human resources that make it possible for every Rwandan to become a part of a global economy, and celebrate the power of the human spirit everyday - with a cup of coffee in hand!”

Available on: Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Jack Karuletwa founded Silverback Coffee of Rwanda®, with a very simple mission: Ethically craft the world’s best coffee while supporting African coffee farmers and highly endangered mountain gorillas.

As a young man, Jack and his siblings spent most of their lives unable to live in their own country of Rwanda simply because of the Tutsi ethnic group from which they came. A horrific genocide – where nearly 1 millions Tutsis were killed in a few short weeks – was looming, and their father worked hard to save the family, moving them regularly and hiding their ethnic background.

There seemed no hope of escaping intense discrimination and violence in Rwanda at the time, and so Jack’s parents made a huge sacrifice, and moved Jack to the USA in the 1990s.

There, 7-foot tall Jack attended university, where he studied physics and discovered his aptitude for basketball. After a time with the Harlem Globetrotters and a place on the NBA practice team, he worked as an actor on nationally syndicated television shows and commercials, even co-starring in a Disney feature film.

But with every opportunity, Jack promised himself that he would one day find a way to provide hope to the people (and gorillas) of Rwanda.

As the country began an incredible transformation to now become one of the world’s safest countries, Jack founded Silverback Coffee of Rwanda. The name, of course, honors the silverback gorilla – a strong, peaceful leader that respects and cares for their environment. It’s the perfect name for Jack’s ethical coffee company, which honors all people involved, cares for the land, protects the wildlife, and serves the community.

Silverback Coffee of Rwanda® is an an exquisite single-origin East African coffee, roasted to order in Los Angeles. But it’s much more than that. It’s an essence of hope that helps hardworking farmers survive, honors a miraculous transformation in Rwanda, and supports highly endangered mountain gorillas.
Silverback Coffee is special, from start-to-finish, the delicious beans in your cup can be tracked directly from thier in-house roasting facility, all the way back to one single farm in Rwanda. And it’s there that they go beyond fair trade practices. They empower the farmers and their families who live on the volcanic soil near the gorillas to carefully cultivate the world’s best coffee.
It’s there where they also honor one of the world’s most incredible transformations. Silverback Coffee’s founder Jack Karuletwa and his family narrowly escaped the country’s horrific genocide just 25 years ago. But Rwanda has now become one of the world’s safest countries, a peaceful land of a thousand hills, incredible views, and a commitment to conservation. The Rwandan spirit and their resilience inspires thier team to make a difference – in your morning, and in the world.

And it’s there, the misty volcanic forests of Rwanda, where Silverback Coffee helps conserve one of humanity’s closest relatives: mountain gorillas. Only about 1,000 of these peaceful giants have survived habitat loss, disease, and poaching. But with dramatic efforts, there is hope for their survival. Silverback Coffee supports Rwandan non-profits, helping both local people and the gorillas. Jack serves on the Board of Directors of Gorilla Doctors, for example, which provides life-saving veterinary medicine to Africa’s majestic mountain gorillas.
Silverback Coffee is not only a delicious single-source coffee, but it’s ethical, from start-to-finish. Silverback Coffee:
Honors the people
Cares for the land
Protects the wildlife, and
Serves the community 

To learn more about Silverback, follow them on Instagram, check out their website, or go visit their LA cafes

To order some coffee yourself, check out their online store

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