Hats off to Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks. Schultz announced that starting Nov. 1, Starbucks will collect donations of $5 or more from customers to help job growth in the U.S. With this "Jobs for USA" program, Schultz is collaborating with the Opportunity Finance Network, a nonprofit that works with nearly 200 community development financial institutions to provide loans to small businesses and community groups.
Schultz says 100% of the donations go for loans for companies that can add jobs or stem job losses. Starbucks declined to predict how much it will collect, but each day, millions of people visit nearly 7,000 company-owned stores. Customers who donate will receive a red, white and blue wristband that says "Indivisible."
"This is about using Starbucks' scale for good," says Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO.
Schultz has been making an effort to address the nation's economic woes. In August, he sent more than 200,000 Starbucks employees a memo urging them to do what they can to help business thrive. Later, he asked fellow corporate CEOs to stop contributing to political campaigns until the nation's leaders reached a long-term economic solution. After that, he hosted a national telephone forum, bought full-page ads in two major newspapers and started a website, Upwardspiral2011.org.
Is this just a publicity ploy by Schultz? I doubt it. It seems that Schultz is using his public platform to do good. Schultz has accomplished a triple play with this move. He has generated tremendous positive PR for himself and for Starbucks. He has sent a very public message to a politically-stalemated Washington that something CAN be done to create jobs. Lastly, he has done a good deed for America. Kudos Mr. Schultz!
Schultz said he feels a personal responsibility to stimulate this economy. Starbucks hires about 200 people a day in the U.S. as part of its effort to remodel thousands of stores and add about 200 locations in the next year. But Schultz says he wants to do more. For more information, visit createjobsforusa.org
What do you think? Is this a brilliant PR moves by Schultz or simply someone trying to do good?