Black 6 Project: A nonprofit built on passion for purpose, fueled by coffee

I’m not sure of a better way to conduct a meeting than getting up early on a Saturday and meeting up with another Marine who is the founder of an amazing charity at a coffee roasting facility. Yes that’s correct! This charity roasts up some amazing quality coffee to help fuel their mission.... no pun intended. We’ll dive into the amazing aromas and notes of these coffees we made in a little bit but first, we going to dive into what Black 6 Project is and how founder Joseph Zoleta got started after his time in the United States Marine Corps.

I’m starting to see that a good amount of charities are run by our veterans. This is because of the love we have for giving back to others and making a positive impact. This philanthropic spirit continues to run deep in our bodies even after our military service. Black 6 Project exemplifies this perfectly as the organization was born from a passion to help others in need. The founders Joseph Zoleta, David Guzman, and Francis Faustino have made a career in taking care of those in need. Faustino is a board certified family practitioner and both Guzman and Zoleta are paramedics in New York City. They provide EMS care in a city that receives about 1.43 million emergency medical service calls a year.

Before they were paramedics, Guzman and Zoleta served in separate armed services but ones that would be all too familiar with each other. Guzman was a corpsman for the Navy and Zoleta was a grunt for the Marine Corps. The brotherhood that the Marines have with their Corpsman is undeniable so it would be only natural that these two would team up. Both are combat veterans from deployments in Iraq and when they returned home and developed their careers, they both still felt the need to do more. They were working on their new company, “Black 6” when conversation brought them to the need to do more outside of their usual realm.

As veterans, they found their appetite to serve for a greater cause could not easily be satisfied. When they left their respective services, that fire to just get out there still smoldered inside. Many may succumb to the mediocre life, but they felt it would be an even greater achievement to serve on their own terms, and they quickly found many others with the same fire inside.

Black 6 Project is an organization that looks for volunteers that have the motivation to serve for the better good. It is an organization that can pool its resources of motivated individuals and bring care to those in need anywhere in the world. With the experience of their veteran leadership, the Black 6 Project deploys annually to different parts of the world such as Puerto Rico & the Philippines. When on their missions, the Black 6 team visits areas to bring in life saving supplies to children such as inhalers, flashlights, basic medical supplies and more.

This groups of individuals knew they needed to create a way to keep their charity sustainable and be able to support their missions to other countries…this is when Black 6 Coffee was born. In creating a coffee company, the Black 6 team could help continue to help the community even when they weren’t physically there and support their nonprofit efforts. Black 6 buys local coffee beans and roast them at Regalia Company in Long Island City and then sell them to continue to fuel not only their mission, but the local economy as well. They even roast the beans with a small roaster right in their garage as well! Their most recent trip was to the Philippines and they are gearing up for a trip to Guatemala on January 18th. 

I had a unique chance to come join the Black6 team in roasting some beans. When I tell you the aroma was amazing... it was amazing!  The smells were of cherries and the notes were of chocolate. These smell were a perfect start to an amazing Saturday morning. Working alongside Black 6 Project is such a unique experience and will be another great partnership for Backpacks For Life. We will be working together to help more veterans and impact the communities we serve together. For their next mission trip, we will be providing backpacks to the Back 6 Project team to make them even more effective in their mission! Be sure to check out this great charity and pick up some great quality coffee and know with every sip you are making a difference!

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