A History of Helping Others: From Jim Boyles to John Howard

We at Saint Basil Coffee look forward to a bright and meaningful year of continued service toward social justice and support of missions serving those most in need. But before we share news about our future, let us take a moment to look back 16 years to when Jim Boyles Sr. first conceived an idea for how he and his family could contribute to Pope John Paul II’s “Call to Social Justice.”


It was in 2004 during a conversation around the dining room table that Jim and Fr. Vince Thompson, a priest of the Congregation of St. Basil, began to discuss how the Boyles family could use the blessings they’d been given to reach out to those suffering severe poverty and deprivation.

Fr. Thompson had been serving missions in Colombia and knew firsthand how even the smallest act of kindness could provide life-changing benefits to the people in his community. Fr. Thompson related to the Boyles family that more help was needed.

The challenge was made for Jim to take the skills he had acquired as the successful founder of Artisan Field, a visual communication and design company, and create a way to provide consistent and steady financial support to the poorest of the poor.

Jim Boyles, founder of Saint Basil Coffee.

As they pondered the various ways they could help, they realized they could make a great impact by working with Colombia’s main export: coffee. Naming the business “Saint Basil Coffee” helped to keep everyone involved focused on the meaning and mission they were embarking upon. Selling fair trade coffee allowed farmers to receive fair pay for their produce. And as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, 100% of the proceeds generated from coffee sales went directly to Fr. Thompson and other select Catholic missions serving the poor.


John Howard first started serving as a volunteer with his wife, Linda, when the Howards saw a notice Jim and his wife, Mary, had posted at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, asking for volunteers to help sell coffee after Mass. He found what Saint Basil Coffee was doing fit their beliefs.

John Howard
John Howard, president of Saint Basil Coffee.

And, for the last 10-plus years, John has faithfully coordinated the in-person coffee sales at St. Anne, which have helped Saint Basil Coffee raise more than half a million dollars in funding for missions serving the poor since its inception.  Now, John is well into the first year of his new role as president of Saint Basil Coffee and manages the day-to-day operations. A key goal will be to increase coffee sales, and in turn, our contributions to the missions. This will enable more children, moms and dads, and our sisters and brothers most in need to receive the tools – education, job skills training and humanitarian assistance – to lift themselves out of poverty and on a pathway to a better future.


We challenge YOU to gather your family and friends together just like the Boyles family and Fr. Thompson did 16 years ago and ask how YOU could help us help others.

We need each other to help fulfill the “Call for Social Justice” we’ve been given. Please pray for God to show you where your skills, gifts, talents and treasures could be best used. A cup of Saint Basil coffee can and does make a difference!

“In the end, it is not what Jim has done or what I will do,” John Howard said. “It is truly our customers, the purchasers of Saint Basil coffee, who are making a difference.”

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Lourdes Cotrino

Saint Basil Coffee