NEW ORLEANS – August 25, 2010 – When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, Starbucks committed $5 million over a five-year period to help rebuild communities in the Greater New Orleans area. Next month, $100,000 of this commitment will be distributed to local non-profit organizations through an in-store program called Vote, Give, Grow. Starbucks created the program to involve its partners (employees) and customers in the company’s neighborhood improvement efforts, and to increase awareness of the need for ongoing support.
From September 1-27, customers who make any purchase in one of 21 participating Starbucks stores in the Greater New Orleans area will receive a token that they can drop into a voting bank to show support for their favorite cause. Customers can vote for one of three partner-selected beneficiaries: Young Leadership Council, which engages young professionals in community projects; KaBOOM!, whose mission is to create play spaces within walking distance of every child in America; and Hike for KaTREEna, whose aim is to replant trees that were lost during the disaster. The organization with the most votes will receive a $50,000 grant, and the runners-up will each receive $25,000 grants.
“Vote, Give, Grow complements our typical grant and volunteer service programs by giving partners and customers the opportunity to drive meaningful change through simple, everyday actions,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of Community Investments. “Significant improvements have been made in New Orleans over the past five years, but there’s still a considerable amount of work to do. As we look to the next five years, we’ll continue to engage and inspire passionate individuals in our efforts to help restore this vibrant community.”
To date, Starbucks has distributed $4.6 million to non-profit organizations that are dedicated to building and repairing homes and revitalizing public spaces. In order to help facilitate the distribution of grants to local beneficiaries, Starbucks has joined forces with several community foundations, including the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Lower Pearl River Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Acadiana.
“Starbucks has been an important partner in the rebuilding and recovery of New Orleans,” said Albert Ruesga, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “Not only has the company provided significant financial resources, it has been a true collaborator in developing and executing neighborhood programs, and in generating awareness of the ongoing need for donations and volunteerism. We look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.”
The remainder of Starbucks $5 million commitment will be directed toward holistic community programs that focus on education, employment, health, housing, and safety. In addition to awarding grants, the company plans to contribute service hours, training, and tools to organizations that are striving to make a long-term impact. Starbucks believes it can help drive positive change around the world by mobilizing its partners and customers to volunteer, and by empowering young people to innovate and take action in their communities.
In 2008, Starbucks hosted its U.S. leadership conference in New Orleans, and recruited its 9,000 participating partners to contribute more than 36,000 community service hours. Over a four-day period, Starbucks partners painted and repaired 86 houses, landscaped more than 300 lots, and planted over 1,000 trees in hard-hit neighborhoods, such as Broadmoor, Hollygrove, Gentilly, City Park, and the Garden District. For further details about Starbucks community initiatives, visit starbucks.com/responsibility.
To learn more about the Greater New Orleans Foundation, visit gnof.org. For information on additional donor and volunteer opportunities, visit youngleadershipcouncil.org, kaboom.org, and hikeforkatreena.com.