Starbucks Seeks To Boost Small Business Employment
The public image of corporations has soured during the financial crisis. The boom of the 1990s created a national climate in which corporate brands were held up as national icons. But once the bubble burst, and executives were seen as breaching the public trust in the interest of their companies' bottom line, their brands suffered as a result. Of late, that rage has taken the form of the Occupy movement, which is seeing citizens swell urban spaces to blame corporations for inequality and lack of employment in America, among other grievances.
While most American corporations have long promoted volunteer efforts, coffee giant Starbucks has just announced a project specifically aimed at creating jobs. The Seattle-based company will be donating $5 million to the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) in a bid to boost employment through microfinancing, according to a report on mediabistro.com.
"Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing more than half of all private sector workers -- but this critical jobs engine has stalled," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We've got to thaw the channels of credit so that community businesses can start hiring again. 'Create Jobs for USA' empowers Americans to help other Americans create and sustain jobs, with Starbucks and OFN as a catalyst...."
Starbucks' "Create Jobs for USA" campaign is inspired by the fact that 65 percent of new jobs over the last 15 years have been created by small businesses. And so a raft of business categories, including small businesses themselves, as well as micro-enterprises and nonprofit organizations, will be eligible to apply for loans through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) selected by the campaign.
"The goal of 'Create Jobs for USA' is to bring people and communities together to create and sustain jobs throughout America," Starbucks says on the campaign's website.
Much of the funding will be generated through donations at the some 6,000 Starbucks located throughout the country. When a donor gives more than $5 dollars to the campaign, they will receive a red, white and blue wristband with an inscription that reads, "Indivisible" as "a symbol of our country's unity," Schultz's statement said.
The campaign, which will officially begin on Nov. 1, comes at a bullish time for Starbucks. According to a report on The Street, Starbucks stock just posted a 52-week high. Currently trading at $42.94, Starbucks shares are up 27.6 percent so far this year.
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