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This undated photo provided by Starbucks shows a wristband that Starbucks is giving to customers who donate $5 or more to the Opportunity Finance Network, an organization that works with nearly 200 community development financial institutions nationwide that in turn, lend that money to entrepreneurs, small business and community groups that might not otherwise get funding. Starbucks says 100 percent of the donations will go to these loans that will help add jobs or stem job loss. (AP Photo/Starbucks)

Starbucks to take $5 donations for job program

SHARE Starbucks to take $5 donations for job program
SHARE Starbucks to take $5 donations for job program

Starbucks hopes customers will be willing to pay at least $5 more when they stop in for their morning cup of Joe.

Starting Nov. 1, Starbucks will begin collecting donations of $5 or more from customers to stimulate U.S. job growth through its “Jobs for USA” program. The Seattle-based coffee chain 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. Starbucks says 100 percent of the donations will go toward loans for firms and organizations that can add jobs or stem job losses.

Starbucks, which pioneered how Americans drink coffee, declined to estimate how much money it plans to raise, but millions of people visit its nearly 7,000 company-owned U.S. stores each day. Customers who give will get a red, white and blue wristband that says “Indivisible.”

“This is about using Starbucks’ scale for good,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO.

The program is the latest effort by Schultz 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. Then, he asked fellow 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.

Schultz said he feels personal responsibility to do something to stimulate the U.S. economy. Starbucks is hiring about 200 people a day in the U.S. as part of its efforts to remodel thousands of stores and add about 200 more locations in the next year. But Schultz said he wanted to do more.

AP

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