Starbucks is hyped up about creating jobs. It’s using its resources to energize job creation by investing in local businesses, which have had a tough time getting financing from banks. So, instead of waiting for the government or banks to help companies spur job creation, Starbucks is using its distribution to reach out to millions of Americans to raise cash to invest in small business.
Under the leadership of CEO, Howard Schultz, Starbucks will donate the first $5 million. It is also asking customers to donate $5 each when they buy a cup of coffee. In return, customers will get a red, white and blue bracelet to show they care. On it’s new Create Jobs for USA website, the company said, “Starbucks is teaming up with Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) which is a group of community lending institutions set up to provide financing to community businesses that need our help. In donating to OFN, 100% of your donation will help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities.”
In the past, Schultz has been vocal about his frustration with politicians who have been ineffectual while people are suffering. The Los Angeles Times wrote:
The new venture comes as Schultz is increasingly becoming embroiled in issues that go beyond Starbucks’ doors, such as calling out U.S. political leaders for creating a ‘crisis of confidence’ (during the prolonged debate over raising the debt ceiling) and calling on other chief executives to stop contributing to political campaigns until politicians embrace financial discipline and stop with all the bickering.
Besides being vocal, Schultz is taking a leadership role by actively taking action to solve the high unemployment problem. Self-serving? Maybe. Good PR? Sure. We applaud the move. ‘As I look at what is happening in America … the gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting wider and wider.’ He told the Times he’s been wondering: ‘How can Starbucks use our scale for good?’ This is actually the same strategy another socially responsible CEO used. Anita Roddick of the Body Shop also made it a point to use her distribution channel to source key cosmetics products from communities in need in developing countries. This type of leadership behavior has another outcome as well. It’s a talent magnet for people who want to work for socially-responsible companies.
One final note: Schultz is not one to give up on an idea. He is known for being persistent. After all it took him a full year to get a job with Starbucks when he first applied. Watch this video of Howard Schultz and you’ll know just how determined he can be.