Friday, 4 April 2008

Gloria Jeans and Mercy Ministries part 2

This is part 2.

Part 1 is here.

I received a response to my complaint to Gloria Jeans. It's maddening to note that it's a standard response by numbers press release type thing that doesn't even address the points that I raised or the question that I was after an answer to.

I'll type a response a little later on. In the meantime, here is Hillsong's sorry, Gloria Jean's response:

Dear Dikkii,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We are deeply concerned with the recent media coverage related to our sponsorship of Mercy Ministries and association with the Hillsong Church and feel it is not reflective of what our business is all about.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees is a company built on family and community values with the vision: “To be the most loved and respected coffee company in the World.”

Our responsibility is to our Franchise Partners and our guests.

We are not religiously affiliated, or affiliated to any other beliefs or preferences. We are non-discriminatory and accept staff, franchise partners and guests from all walks of life.

We believe as a truly responsible corporate citizen, that we should have a positive impact on the communities from were we source our coffee and the communities we serve. Our values include: “Belief in people, building and changing lives”.

Our sponsorship of many international and local charities including Mercy Ministries is based on giving back to the communities who have helped us become the brand we are today, there are no hidden agendas.

We assessed Mercy Ministries along with many other potential charity partners several years ago now and found that their work transforming the lives of young women in crisis was a good fit with our vision, mission and values.

Our corporate donations amount to approximately $150,000 – $170,000 per annum plus the donations made by the public through the money boxes in stores.

Since then we have seen many young women’s lives transformed for the better. We have regularly visited Mercy Ministries homes to meet with the residents.

All our Franchise Partners in Australia have the opportunity to do this as well as all our Master Franchise Partners from the 29 other countries in which we serve coffee. We have several Mercy Ministries graduates working in and making a positive contribution to Gloria Jean’s Coffees both in our stores and support office.

We have been in direct discussion with Mercy Ministries and we will be working with them to understand what elements of their program could have given rise to these very concerning claims. We would encourage any member of the public that is concerned to review their response to these allegations on their website at

Many of the issues facing these young women are not easily fixed. While the vast majority of young women succeed in the program, there are those few for which this program is not the answer. Clearly they have the right to give their views.

We believe this however should not outweigh the positive impact Mercy Ministries has had on the lives of many young women. By removing our sponsorship without due diligence, we would be removing our support for the many young women dealing with eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, abuse and other life controlling issues that are in desperate need for help to turn their lives around.

We have no relationship with the Hillsong Church. Gloria Jean’s Coffees is an Australian-owned private company and there are no financial or legal ties between Gloria Jean’s Coffees and Hillsong Church. This remains unchanged.

The religious affiliation of our management, staff, Franchise Partners, charity partners has absolutely no relevance to how we operate our company. Our responsibility is to our Franchise Partners, our guests and the quality of our coffee.

Thank you for your concern, we really do take your thoughts & feelings to heart in trying to ensure we serve you in the best way possible and in our journey to become the most loved & respected coffee house worldwide.

Yours faithfully,

Dianne Baise Guest
Relations Officer

Gloria Jean’s Coffees

I may even blaze away at them with a fisking, but I'm undecided, yet.

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