Starbucks Saves the World?

Earlier today Starbucks, yes that Starbucks that sells coffee to the masses at record profit, announced that they will team up their Foundation with Opportunity Finance Network for the new initiative Jobs For USA. The purpose is to create jobs and prevent layoffs through the O.F. Network’s connections as a nonprofit to the credit industry (banks, credit unions) and stimulate the US economy.

This is not the Starbuck you are looking for...

Starbucks is asking for $5 donations starting on Nov 1st at all its 7,000 US locations. It is also donating $5 million to the 27-year old nonprofit to kick start efforts as donations hopefully pile in. The $5 donated will, as the partnership explains, turn into $35 worth of financing for community businesses.

Is this unprecedented in the form of a company aiming to change the direction of an economy, via a medium of a nonprofit? Many campaigns by corporations are in an effort to assist a nonprofit achieve their mission – cure for breast cancer, childhood hunger, literacy, poverty, mentoring, etc – but this might be a first. Many chain stores also support the community by asking for donations at the register – Walmart, Target – but have any attempted to solve an economic crisis?

The internet is abuzz with this news – but how will nonprofits welcome it? Will it be a new model of fundraising engagement? It could be, as if nonprofits and their business partners see Congress inaffectual in solving crises (natural disasters for example could be made a national campaign by Target) they take to their own solutions.

More over, if Starbucks is successful in showing (not just fundraising for this effort) that their model actually created and sustained jobs long-term, would we associate the green and white lady with…economic security for $5?

Interesting times.

I smell....economic security?



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