Starbucks’ “Create Jobs for USA:” Demonstrating the Potential of a Resource Pooling Fund?

Like OIC of America’s Entrepreneur Mindset Initiative, Starbucks’ Create Jobs for USA is another initiative that can demonstrate the immense potential of pooling small amounts from large numbers of people to foster entrepreneurship and job creation in underserved communities, e.g., as conceptualized in the “National Venture & Excellence Fund” (or “EXCEL Fund”) discussed in the article, Financing Black Progress, Part 2: A Self-Reliance “Marshall Plan”: Creating a National Resource-Pooling Fund.

According to the Create Jobs for USA website (“How It Works”):

“Starbucks has teamed up with Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) to help create and sustain jobs. The Create Jobs for USA program provides capital grants to select Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The CDFIs will provide loans to underserved community businesses, which include small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing. The goal of Create Jobs for USA is to bring people and communities together to create and sustain jobs throughout America.

The Create Jobs for USA program initially was seeded with a $5 million contribution from the Starbucks Foundation. People can support the initiative by making a donation to the Create Jobs for USA fund. Donations are accepted at company-operated U.S. Starbucks stores and online at For donations of $5 or more, donors will receive an American-made “Indivisible” wristband. To learn more about this program, please view our video.”

Howard Schultz, founder/CEO of Starbucks, discussed the initiative on the Tom Joyner Morning Show on April 4, 2012. According to a report [Starbucks Fund Aims to Create Jobs. By Jackie Jones]:

“More than $7.5 million has been raised – including $5 million in seed money from the Starbucks Foundation – since the fund was started in October and two other partnerships are expected to add another $4 million, which would support about $80 million in lending that Starbucks has said could create or save nearly 4,000 jobs.

Google Offers will sell $10 Starbucks vouchers for $5 on Wednesday in an effort to raise $3 million by donating $3 from each voucher sold. The Banana Republic will donate $1 million from purchases made during two four-day sales later this year. The first one is scheduled for April 19. Individuals may participate as well.”

As discussed in the article, Financing Black Progress, Part 1: A Publicly Financed “Marshall Plan” Is Unrealistic, So What’s the Alternative? A “Self-Reliance Marshall Plan”?, self-reliance-based strategies such as the EXCEL Fund’s large-scale resource-pooling initiative are necessary because waiting for the government is largely futile. In a similar vein, Schultz expresses the futility of “waiting for Washington,” according to a CBS News report (Starbucks CEO touts program to create U.S. jobs), which includes a video of Schultz discussing the initiative with Gayle King and Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning:

“There are over 13 million Americans unemployed, a large percentage of Hispanics and African-Americans, 42 out of 50 states are facing budget deficits, 11 might not be able to make pension payments between now and the end of the year. And we’re celebrating 8.3 percent unemployment as a victory. I just can’t allow that,” Schultz said on “CBS This Morning.” “So what I’m trying to do is ask the question, ‘How can business, and specifically, Starbucks use its skill for good?'”
“What we’re trying to do is really show other people that business can make a difference. And, in fact, we don’t want to wait for Washington.”

“One of the fallacies in America is that banks are lending again. They’re not, despite all the (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money,” he said. “We’re getting money in the hands of small banks, (who then) lend it to small businesses, create jobs in start-ups and existing businesses. In fact, 80 percent of the money we’ve raised has already been (given) out. And we can document with great transparency where the money’s going and the jobs that are being created.”

Now other companies are joining in. On Tuesday, deal website Google Offers and clothier Banana Republic announced exclusive offers for the Create Jobs for USA Fund. Google Offers will run an exclusive Starbucks offer featuring a $10 Starbucks Card eGift for $5. In support of the Create Jobs for USA Fund, Google Offers will donate $3 for each offer sold to Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of Community Development Financial Institutions, up to $3 million.

Banana Republic will support the program with two special four-day shopping events during the year to raise up to $500,000 per sale (up to $1 million total) for the Create Jobs for USA Fund. During the four-day events, customers will receive 25 percent off their purchases in Banana Republic stores and online. The first event will start Thursday, April 19.

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