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Mar 10, 2017

Social Impact Feature: Global Gallery Fair Trade Coffee, Art & Gifts Offers Local Haven for International Impact

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In 1991, four churches joined forces with a common vision of bringing Fair Trade products from around the world to the Columbus market. These groups created Global Gallery, a nonprofit gift shop which first debuted in Columbus’ Short North Arts District. Since that time, Global Gallery has provided opportunities for more than 1,500 international artisans from more than 45 countries to earn fair wages for their products.

Board-owned and operated, Global Gallery has strategically changed its location several times over the years to deepen its community connections and increase its visibility throughout Central Ohio. From pop-up shops to full-blown venues, these locations have included Easton, The Ohio State University campus and German Village. Its current location at 3535 North High Street in Clintonville includes a coffee shop, a room for customers to enjoy art and a small gift shop.

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“When I was a fashion retail major at Ohio State University,” said Emily Marshall, Operations Manager, “I was lucky enough to get an internship when the shop was located on campus. It was a great fit for me, and now I work here full time.”

Global Gallery continues to forge partnerships with universities, schools and local organizations to develop educational programs and provide space for local artists to showcase their talents and share cultural connections with the local community.

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“We host events throughout the year—from coffee talks, performances by local musicians and workshops to documentaries that provide opportunities for discussion on topics related to Fair Trade,” said Amy Palmer, who has served on the Global Gallery Board since 2008.

In addition to providing a venue for artisans and musicians, Global Gallery has raised funds for more a decade to help build and expand a library at an orphanage in Bolivia. Another area the group is invested in creating impact is the Women Crafting Change project, a developing social enterprise collaboration between Global Gallery and the Hilltop Shalom Zone. The project is designed for women who may have challenges gaining traditional employment. The group holds weekly meetings to learn and share business skills while creating products that are then sold at festivals and specialty shops.

In 2015, Global Gallery received a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, to have monthly art shows featuring local artists or organizations.

“We feature local artists on a regular basis, and collaborate with other social enterprises, such as ARC Industries’ Sunapple Studio,” said Amy. “Sunapple artists recently showed their work in the gallery and we carry their artists’ products in our gift shop.”

Global Gallery also hosts CMAA Refugee Services’ Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project, a sewing co-op. CMAA Refugee Services helps refugees build connections, adjust to, and advance their new lives in the U.S.

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Because Global Gallery is board-owned and operated, committees oversee all aspects of the organization, and the organization relies heavily on volunteer support. The group measures impact through sales, the number of opportunities to sell at farmers’ markets and festivals, and the growing number of attendees to events like Women Crafting Change.

Want to get involved? Volunteer for Global Gallery’s big fundraiser on May 13 in celebration of Fair Trade Day. Follow Global Gallery on Facebook, attend an event, drop in for coffee, make purchases from the gift shop, and support this local social enterprise with big global impact by sharing their story and stopping by their booth at events like Highball, Comfest and other art shows throughout the year.

Central Ohio’s social enterprises dedicated to creating positive change for women and children

The Center for Social Enterprise Development (CSED) maintains a directory of social enterprises throughout Central Ohio. We have developed many at-a-glance profiles for each social enterprise, intended to inform consumers, funders, impact investors and individual donors of investment-worthy causes. Here are the social enterprises we’ve identified to date, whose focus is creating social impact for women and children. We encourage you to learn more, consider supporting these organizations, or inform us of additional social enterprises that share this focus. Connect with the Center for Social Enterprise Development on Facebook and Twitter to follow all the latest updates on roughly 100 local social enterprises throughout Central Ohio.