Ten Thousand Villages State College is a nonprofit retail organization, operating a store at 1341 S. Atherton St. The mission of Ten Thousand Villages is to “create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.” We are part of the larger Ten Thousand Villages organization, which operates more than fifty stores across the county and builds and maintains the fair-trade business relationships with the international artisans we serve.
Ten Thousand Villages was instrumental in starting the fair trade movement in the 1940s and is committed to building ethical trading relationships with our artisan partners. Ten Thousand Villages is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Our board, staff, and volunteers all share a passion for our mission and are eager to share the stories behind each of the beautiful hand-crafted items in our store.
We’re excited about the future of our store, and we look forward to becoming the Centre Region’s premier fair trade gift store and a place for our community to gather to #livelifefair.
We invite you join us in this important and life-changing work. To maximize our impact on the artisans we serve, our local operation runs primarily on volunteers. We need store volunteers as well as board and committee members. If you are interested in getting involved, contact the store at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814.954.5043. We would love to talk with you. Come and be part of our village!
Board of Directors and Officers
- Joel Weidner, Chair
- Jean Landis, Vice Chair
- Kristine Charles, Secretary
- Frank Dougherty, Treasurer
- Tom Cali
- Jim Candor
- Rev. Carol Cissel
- Collen Connolly-Ahern
- Mary Dickson
- Debbie Smith
- Kieran Holland, Manager, email@example.com
- Jenn Miller, Assistant Manager
History of Our Local Nonprofit
The idea of opening a store in State College began with several members of University Mennonite Church, which has hosted yearly weekend sales for Ten Thousand Villages for several decades. Inspired by the community’s support for this sale, we invited representatives from Ten Thousand Villages to a community meeting in October 2016 to gauge the level of interest in opening a permanent store in State College. More than thirty people attended that first meeting, a positive sign of support.
We incorporated as a nonprofit in October 2016 and a diverse group of Centre County residents held the first board of directors meeting on February 3, 2017. We are recognized by the IRS as a 501(3)(c) charitable organization. The board, led by Joel Weidner, Jean Landis, and Kristine Charles, began fundraising, raising awareness, and building support. We set out to raise at least 0100,000 to open a store. Through numerous sales and generous donations, by spring of 2018 we secured more than 0125,000, including a 050,000 matching grant from the Mennonite Central Committee (the worldwide relief organization of the Mennonite Church) to cover startup costs.
On July 1, 2018 we signed the lease for space in the Talbots Plaza at 1341 S. Atherton St. in State College. The rest of the summer was spent renovating the space and preparing for opening. In August 2018 we hired Kieran Holland as our full-time manager and Jenn Miller as our part-time assistant manager.
We opened our doors for business on September 12, 2018 and celebrated our Grand Opening the following month. The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County (CBICC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 19, which was attended by the State College Mayor Don Hahn, Council President Evan Myers, and Ten Thousand Villages representatives Jim Gittings and Kate McMahon. The week was full of performances, refreshments, prizes, and good will. We continue to appreciate overwhelming support from the community!
The board and staff celebrate the opening of the Ten Thousand Villages store in State College