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Starbucks Deepens Local Impact with New, Innovative Employer-Led Service Program

Starbucks and Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, have launched Starbucks Service Fellows, an innovative, employer-led service program inspired and informed by national service. The initial six-month pilot, launching this month, includes 36 Starbucks store partners (employees) from 13 cities across the U.S. who will serve with a Points of Light affiliate in their community, collectively providing more than 17,000 hours of community service.

As part of the Starbucks Service Fellows, selected partners will work 20 hours in their store each week, while spending another 20 hours each week with a Points of Light local affiliate organization to help drive their mission, vision and programs forward through agreed upon service activations.  By working at least 20 hours at Starbucks, each fellow also remains eligible for Starbucks benefits like comprehensive healthcare, equity in the form of company stock, and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

Building on the company’s longstanding goal to create opportunities and engage in the communities it serves, Starbucks also announced today $1.3 million in Opportunity for All grants from The Starbucks Foundation to organizations serving opportunity youth, refugees and veterans and military families. This year, the Foundation selected 47 programs from communities across the U.S. with input from Starbucks partners and field leaders.

“Starbucks partners consistently share with us their passion for service both in and out of their stores,” said Virginia Tenpenny, vice president of Global Social Impact at Starbucks and executive director of The Starbucks Foundation. “The Service Fellows program powers that passion through philanthropy and partnerships to have the greatest impact. Our Service Fellows program is an innovative approach that combines work, service, and partnerships, a model that will inform how we catalyze our partners and grantees to create enduring change in our communities.”

An Innovative, Employer-Led Service Program
Starbucks worked with Points of Light to match selected partners with local affiliates, giving participating organizations the talent and support they need to maximize their impact locally, while enabling partners to serve their communities and gain experience/skills in the nonprofit sector such as project management, volunteer recruitment, community engagement, and stakeholder relationship management.

“We believe this bold program, designed in partnership with Starbucks, will redefine corporate engagement and the private sector’s ability to support civic engagement,” said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light. “Starbucks investment in the 13 communities served by this initiative will not only spark positive change through more than 17,000 hours of community service, but it also serves as a model for an employer-led capacity-building program that Starbucks and other corporate partners can scale globally in the future.” 

For the initial pilot, Points of Light identified 13 organizations in their affiliate network that would benefit from focused service efforts that align with Starbucks’ global social impact priorities, with a focus on opportunity youth, refugees, veterans and military families, hunger, environment and disaster recovery. From there, following a competitive application process, 36 Starbucks partners were selected to form the first cohort of Starbucks Service Fellows through February 2019. This year’s fellows are serving at the following Points of Light affiliates:

HandsOn Atlanta; HandsOn Bay Area; Boston Cares; HandsOn Broward, FL; Chicago Cares; VolunteerNow (Dallas); Volunteer Fairfax; Volunteer Houston; HandsOn Miami; HandsOn Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul); HandsOn Greater Phoenix; Seattle Works; United Way of Greater St. Louis

“I’ve always been very involved in community work and my store manager told me I could not miss this opportunity,” said Katharine Ospina, a Starbucks shift supervisor from Florida who will work on hurricane preparedness and hurricane relief with HandsOn Broward. “I can already see the impact we’re going to make as we become more aware of the issues our communities are facing.”

Since its founding, Starbucks has had long-standing commitment to giving back in the communities it serves. Starbucks partners volunteer throughout the year, with company-wide moments honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day of service, as well as inviting customers to volunteer during Global Month of Service each April. During the 2018 Global Month of Service, Starbucks partners around the world led over 2,850 community service projects – equivalent to 95 projects a day throughout the month of April.  Starbucks aspiration is for 100% of all stores globally to participate in service annually by 2020.

Deepening Impact and Engagement through Community Investments 
Today, Starbucks also announced $1.3 million in “Opportunity for All” grants from The Starbucks Foundation, which since 2016 have supported organizations working to create and advance economic opportunities for youth, veterans and military families, and refugees. This year’s 47 grants to non-profit organizations range from $5,000 to $60,000 and support programs in 35 cities across the United States. Highlights of the 2018 Opportunity for All grant recipients include:

City Year affiliates are receiving six grants across the U.S. to support leadership development and Whole School Whole Child (WSWC) programs, through which AmeriCorps members provide academic and social-emotional support to help at-risk youth graduate from high school.
Three grants are designated to United Way affiliates in Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco for programs that provide pathways to employment for opportunity youth and programs that prepare youth for life beyond high school.
Hillsides in California, a long-time community partner with Starbucks for 20 years, will leverage The Starbucks Foundation grant to grow their Youth Moving On program, which provides support annually for more than 600 Los Angeles County transitioned-aged youth who are exiting foster care and the probation system through housing support, workforce development, mental healthcare, life skills classes and case management services.

Upwardly Global received two grants that will support job search and training programs for skilled refugees in New York metropolitan and Bay Area and Sacramento metropolitan region, while also supporting their Volunteering with Refugees program for Starbucks partners. 
Greater Chicago Food Depository, another long-time community partner for Starbucks, has a network of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community-based programs support one in six Cook County, Illinois residents each year. The organization will use their Opportunity for All grant to expand their Chicago’s Community Kitchens workforce development program to help unemployed and underemployed adults find full-time work in the culinary industry.
Women Veterans Interactive, a first-time grantee, will use their grant to expand their Women Veterans Transition Space Program (WVTS) that helps women as they transition out of the military. Women veterans have a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts, and this program seeks to prevent homelessness with financial literacy, health and wellness, and veterans’ benefits education services.


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