Go to your neighborhood Starbucks, and right above the biscotti on the counter sits a display of red, white and blue wristbands. Labelled “Create Jobs for USA,” the wristbands sell for the price of a $5 donation to Opportunity Finance Network, the nation’s largest consortium of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Starbucks’ partner in an initiative to fund entrepreneurship in cities across the country. A little less than a year after these wristbands first appeared, more than $11.5 million in donations has gone to support projects — like an affordable housing development in Baltimore or a mom-and-pop bakery in Kansas City — that are mostly agreeable to people of all political stripes. Yet no matter how benign the program’s intent, its mission hurtles Howard Schultz, the man who brought the latte to Middle America, smack dab in the middle of the decade’s trickiest political conundrum. Journalist Mark Bergen provides a critical appraisal of Schultz’s effort to create his own brand of crowd-funded economic stimulus and examines its impacts on Capitol Hill, in Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters and in the communities this program intends to benefit.
- Learn about Starbucks' Create Jobs for USA initiative, its impact and why the retailer's entry into the jobs debate matters to the country's future.
- Read what leading policymakers are saying about the effort.
- Hear from the small business owners and organizations who have received loans through the coffee giant's initiative.