Rev. Nicholas S. Richards ’09

Memories of Sakura Park Global Festival

Rev. Nicholas S. Richards ’09*
Assistant Minister for Global Outreach
Abyssinian Baptist Church
New York NY
What do you do?
I’m one of the ministers at The Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York. I’m Abyssinian’s minister for global outreach, and I’m also the Executive Secretary for the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention.  Because of the interest at Abyssinian to internationalize its voice regarding economic development, four years ago we started an NGO, aptly named The Abyssinian Fund, which has a focus on reducing poverty by supporting coffee farmers in Ethiopia to develop specialty coffees that will soon be available for sale in the United States. That project started when Abyssinian sponsored a group of 200 people to visit Ethiopia, which was for me a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will always cherish. We were able to visit incredible sights like the Blue Nile falls and 2,000 year-old churches that were built into rock cliffs, during embracing the beautiful sites of Ethiopia we also encountered the harsh reality of poverty that exists.
While at Union, I also took courses and spent time at SIPA and Columbia Business School so that I can develop and write a business plan for what is now our successful non-governmental organization that has offices in southern Ethiopia and New York. What’s fascinating to me is that these Ethiopian coffee growers that we have come to know and support are Muslim, which means this mission project is not about proselytizing but about doing the greater good. While at Union and Abyssinian,

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