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Benjamin Schmerler

As the Director of Corporate Partnerships at Root Capital, Ben is responsible for building relationships with existing and potential corporate donors and investors. He works closely with Root Capital teams in managing and expanding our value chain partnerships, above all by ensuring that our corporate fundraising strategy is cohesive, well-coordinated, and effective. Previously he worked as senior supply chain manager, coffee and consulting services for Fair Trade USA and as co-director and teacher at the John F. Kennedy Institute for African Studies. Ben holds a B.A. in environmental policy and political science from the University of Washington.


Eighteen Years Later, Our Work Is Far From Over

Posted by Benjamin Schmerler  |  Jul 20, 2017 12:12:44 PM


On a warm, breezy day in the sleepy Congolese city of Bukavu, I find myself on the back of a boda-boda motorcycle taxi, puttering down the unpaved city streets on my way to the National Office of Coffee. Down every alleyway I catch glimpses of the morning sun glimmering off of the calm waters of Lake Kivu. It’s the first day of “Saveur du Kivu,” a celebration of the reemergence of specialty coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the country’s premier coffee event. I’m here representing Root Capital, which happens to be the largest coffee lender in the region.

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Topics: East Africa, Peace, Stories of Impact

A Glimpse from the Field: Seeing Peru through My Eyes

Posted by Benjamin Schmerler  |  Dec 3, 2014 3:02:00 PM

If you’ve ever been to Peru, you know that there’s almost a magical energy that permeates the country. The colors, the food, the crazy geographical diversity, the cultural heritage, pride and resilience of its remarkable people – although I’ve been to Peru many times, its novelty truly never fades and my love for it grows deeper with each plate of ceviche.

A few weeks ago, I accompanied a small group of Root Capital investors on a trip to the Peruvian countryside, getting a first-hand perspective of Root Capital’s impact by visiting coffee clients and a potential nut client in the San Martin region in the central Andes. As I boarded my flight home, I left feeling inspired and energized by the things we saw, the stories we heard, and the people we met. I think we all did.

Here are a few memorable moments from the trip: 


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Topics: South America, Staff Profiles, Stories of Impact