Is Starbucks A Vehicle For Change?

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wants action. “We can’t wait for Washington. Business leaders have to step up and do our part,” he said.

Ergo, profits from Starbucks stores in the Harlem section of Manhattan and the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles will now flow into community organizations that work to improve education and job training for young adults in those areas.

According to The Wall Street Journal, high-school students in those neighborhoods also will receive barista training at the Starbucks shops.

According to Credit Union Times, one of Starbucks’ partners in this effort, Create Jobs for USA, will accept donations online at nearly 6,800 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States. Donors who contribute $5 or more will receive a red, white and blue wristband with the message “Indivisible.” The wristband is designed to serve as a symbol of Americans uniting with other Americans to help create jobs.

The money raised will go to help fund loans to community businesses, including small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate and affordable housing.

Not everyone thinks good thoughts about this seemingly generous move from Starbucks. For instance, Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business, tweeted, “On Starbucks. If you think a giant biz funding small biz as an equity investor under the guise of “helping society” ain’t cynical…”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.