Starbucks CEO Announces Initiative to Create Jobs

The Starbucks Foundation will donate $5 million to kick off the fund.

ByABC News
October 3, 2011, 2:03 PM

Oct. 3, 2011 -- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz hopes customers in more than 6,500 stores will leave his establishments with not only drinks in their hands, but also red, white and blue bracelets on their wrists.

Schultz announced today that the "Create Jobs for USA" initiative, in partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network, a collection of community lenders, will use donations to make loans to local businesses that have difficulties securing financing.

Starting Nov. 1, Create Jobs for USA will begin accepting donations online and in Starbucks stores. Every donor who contributes $5 or more will receive a bracelet inscribed with the word "Indivisible."

"The country is not in a crisis. This is an emergency," Schultz told ABC News. "There is a tremendous problem with small businesses in America getting access to credit. ... Right now we can't wait for Washington. Businesses and business leaders have to recognize that we have a shared responsibility in trying to make a difference."

The Starbucks Foundation will donate $5 million to kick off the "Create Jobs for USA Fund" and, according to the Opportunity Finance Network, each $5 donation will allow for $35 in financing from community lenders. The network estimates that one job will be created for every $21,000 in loans or about $3,000 in donations.

"The division in America right now is that there is a crisis of confidence with regard to our economy," Schultz said. "There's no division between business leaders and workers. The division is between what's going on in Washington and the fact that Americans who need solutions are not getting it. ...

"I would beg [Washington], I would get on my hands and knees and say put your feet in the shoes of Americans who are being left behind and wake up and understand you took an oath of office to represent the country, not personal ideology."

Schultz said the people he has met in his stores inspired him to take action.

"I began to see someone at one of our local stores in Seattle very often," Schultz told ABC News. "I walked up to him and I said, 'I just noticed you're here every day. Thank you for coming to Starbucks.'"

The middle-aged man pulled Schultz aside and within five minutes began crying. He said, "I come here every day because I have nowhere else to go.

"These are the kinds of stories that I think motivated me to say, 'I got to do something. I've got to do something,' Schultz said. "[Create Jobs for USA] is what came out of it and I think it's a damn good idea."