Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to work on the Create Jobs for USA initiative for Starbucks. I’m so proud to be a part of a great team of people – partners, customers, and like-minded companies – who have helped raise both money and awareness of the jobs crisis in America. Create Jobs for USA was created so that we could all DO something to help the people across this country affected by unemployment, and I’m happy to say – WE DID! We’ve raised over $15 million in just one year which has helped to create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs. These are 5,000 jobs for our family, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans across the country, and working together we’ve made a positive impact on their lives.
In honor of the Anniversary of the Create jobs for USA program, I’d like to share a letter that Howard Schultz, Starbucks chief executive officer, wrote to our supporters – including you, our customers – who have been actively supporting Create Jobs for USA or otherwise actively involved in making your communities better this year. Thank you for everything you do!
Dear Fellow Leaders,
Today marks one year since we launched the Create Jobs for USA initiative along with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), and I am proud and humbled to share its progress, and thank the many committed supporters who have taken an active role in helping to address the jobs crisis.
Create Jobs for USA was born from a deep-seated belief among those of us at Starbucks never to accept the status quo, and a sincere desire to address our nation’s unacceptable unemployment rates. Because of the collective effort of Starbucks partners (our employees), our customers and of like-minded businesses, that original vision has grown into an innovative program that is benefiting thousands of Americans.
To date, Create Jobs for USA has reached $15 million in donations. Through the fantastic work of OFN, this money has been distributed to community lenders serving nearly all 50 states, and these lenders are leveraging that equity to support approximately $105 million in small and community business financing which will help to create or sustain approximately 5,000 jobs across the country.
This achievement is, in large part, a testament to the generosity of our customers, and to honor their support the Schultz Family Foundation has recently donated $1 million to Create Jobs for USA. More than 800,000 Indivisible wristbands have already been distributed to customers and concerned citizens around the country who support this initiative. And with this donation, on Election Day, November 6, Starbucks U.S. company-operated stores will offer wristbands to those visiting our stores.
The success of Create Jobs for USA also would not be possible without the generous support from Banana Republic, Citi, Google Offers and MasterCard. These companies share Starbucks belief that when businesses use their resources and scale for good, they can make a positive difference in the communities they serve. It is this philosophy that continues to inspire Starbucks to consider how other business decisions we make can reap benefits for and beyond our partners, customers and shareholders.
On that note, I am pleased to announce the next phase planned for Create Jobs for USA, The Indivisible Fund. This Fund, which OFN plans to offer, will give Starbucks and like-minded corporations another, sustainable way to support Create Jobs for USA. Corporations can invest in The Indivisible Fund, which will finance community lenders across the country so that they can make new loans to community businesses committed to creating and retaining jobs. This adds an important new dimension to Create Jobs for USA. These loans will be repaid to the corporations, giving these companies the opportunity to invest in the economic future of the country by putting their funds to work supporting business growth and innovation. Starbucks has signed on as a founding, $5 million investor in The Indivisible Fund. We invite other like-minded companies to join us in supporting The Indivisible Fund by providing their own loans to the Fund, and look forward to the great work that we can continue to do together.
It’s exciting to share these results of what we’ve been able to accomplish together in the last year. But it’s important to remember that behind every statistic are real people—men, women and families that many of us will never meet, but whose lives are benefiting and can benefit from the decisions we make every day as individuals and as companies. The perpetuation of the American Dream exists because of the initiative, sacrifice, talent and hard work of all American citizens, on behalf of themselves as well as one another.
In closing, as proud as I am of our work together, I urge all of us to continue to take the problems our country faces very seriously. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, and is only one of many complex challenges facing our country. Create Jobs for USA is by no means a definitive solution, but it serves as a reminder that, whoever wins the election next week, progress is possible when we come together—indivisible.
With gratitude and respect,