Starbucks started a new community resilience fund to help support underserved communities in 12 major cities.
The Seattle-based coffee company announced the launch of the Starbucks Community Resilience Fund on Wednesday, which will invest $100 million by 2025 to help advance racial equity and environmental initiatives through development projects in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
"Starbucks has always been a company focused on caring for our partners, creating experiences for our customers and playing a positive role in our communities and throughout society," Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. "We are excited to make this investment as it aligns with our Mission and Values and supports our aspiration to advance equity and opportunity in the communities we serve."
Starbucks will direct the investments to 12 metropolitan areas and surround regions in Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington D.C.
The company said it will work with Community Development Finance Institutions and other impact-focused financial institutions, to help provide access to capital intended to support small businesses and neighborhood projects, including those addressing the inequitable impact of climate change. Plus, the Opportunity Finance Network will help work with those CDFIs to provide borrowers with access to capital, ongoing mentorship and technical assistance.
"Starbucks is investing in the survival of small business by working with CDFIs in key cities across America. CDFIs deliver affordable credit as well as training on disaster recovery and rebuilding – and that is exactly what small businesses need right now to withstand ongoing economic and climate changes," OFN president and CEO, Lisa Mensah said in a statement. "With partners like Starbucks and CDFIs, these small businesses will have a fighting chance to recover, rebuild, hire workers and serve their local economy."
Matthew Roth, IFF President of Core Business Solutions, who leads the agency’s CDFI wing said "the pandemic has has highlighted how important CDFIs are in the financial ecosystem" and explained that this project with Starbucks will ensure "capital reaches non-profits and small businesses serving low-income communities that are traditionally left out of mainstream finance."
Additionally, the company announced a new collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture to share educational resources and digital volunteer opportunities in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
As part of the partnership, Starbucks said that both customers and employees can participate in the Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project. Volunteers involved will help digitally transcribe handwritten records containing information from newly emancipated Black people during the Reconstruction period.
"The initiative helps African Americans discover their ancestors and historians better understand the years following the Civil War," the company said. "These records will be used later in a museum exhibition planned for 2021 on the Reconstruction Era."