Military Appreciation Month and beyond: Starbucks commitment to serving those who serve
Every day, Starbucks works to enhance the well-being of every community it serves through actions and programs rooted in opportunity and inclusion. Investments in military partners (employees) -- and every Starbucks partner – is grounded in the belief that Starbucks is at its best when uplifting one another with dignity, respect, and kindness.
Starbucks is honoring and recognizing those who serve this Military Appreciation Month through:
Finding camaraderie, earning a college degree
Eric Savary loved his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. He felt proud of serving his country and reveled in the camaraderie he felt with his team. He had joined the military in 2003, only a few years after 9/11 and “there’s definitely a sense of pride in serving during that time.” He served as an infantryman and later a mechanic and was deployed to Iraq and a number of other locations, but, after 12 years, he found himself at a crossroads. He’d gotten orders to go to West Coast – while his son, Dominic, then 5 years old, lived in York, Pennsylvania, where Savary had grown up.
Not wanting to be apart from him any longer, he chose to end his career in the military and move home. “It was a tough decision,” he said, “but it was go to California or go and be close to my son, so I chose the latter.”
“I try to be my best self and help where I can help with others and family and everything else,” said Savary.
Before he transitioned out, he started looking for a civilian job and, despite having been a staff sergeant E-6 with many years of mechanical experience working on helicopters, he had trouble finding a job that valued the skills he learned in the military. “I talked to other guys who got out around that time and some of them were having trouble finding jobs. I got out and I had no idea. I had no safety net.” It’s a situation all too common for veterans – and one of the reasons that Starbucks has a hiring commitment to help support veterans and military spouses as well as partnerships with organizations that help veterans transition to civilian life.
One day, Savary got a call from another veteran about a job at the Starbucks York Roasting Plant, applied and started working there. He’s now the third shift maintenance supervisor.
“Going to Starbucks, it was great,” he said. “… Starbucks has done a lot for me and my family.”
This month, Savary will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in operations management from Arizona State University, through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership with ASU that provides full tuition coverage for eligible Starbucks partners.
These days, Savary’s family includes his wife, Shara, sons Dominic and Kohan, and his daughter, Rayna. Working overnight allows him to be home in time to help get the kids off to school and daycare and then he goes to bed and wakes around the time they get home from school, he said.
Whether he’s with his family or with his team at work, Savary said he values being able to be a support for others, just as he did during his time in the military. “I try to be my best self and help where I can help with others and family and everything else,” he said.
He’s found again some of that camaraderie he felt in the Marines with other veterans he works with at the plant and other partners. He credits his military foundation for helping hone his work ethic and commitment to be there for others. “I try to be present with the team, and to try to understand what frustrations they have and stuff that affects them outside of work. We understand this is work, but you’re also human. [If someone] has something going on in their personal life, to be mindful of that and follow up with them. The biggest thing is just to be present with them and to be around.”
Benefits that serve the military community
- Starbucks partners who are military veterans can extend the Starbucks College Achievement Plan benefit to a qualified family member for 100% tuition coverage for a first-time bachelor’s degree.
- For members of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve, Starbucks provides up to 80 hours of annual military leave with full pay to support annual training obligations.
- When partners are called to active duty, Starbucks pays the difference between their Starbucks wages and military wages for up to 78 weeks.
- When service members relocate with a permanent station change, Starbucks assists military families with the job-transfer process to locations across the United States.
- The Starbucks Armed Forces Network, created and led by veterans, offers resources and support to transitioning service members and their families.
Building a network of Military Family Stores
At the new Military Family store at Yellow Springs in Frederick, Maryland, its mission is proudly declared in bold letters for all who enter, “This store is dedicated to people united by their courage to serve our country.” The Frederick Military Family Store is one of more than 100 Starbucks Military Family Stores across the country that serve as a hub for active service members, veterans, families and community. They also help advance veteran causes, accelerate the hiring of veteran and military spouses and bridge the civilian-military divide. Through partnerships with veteran service organizations, Military Family Stores link local veterans and their families to important resources, services and shared community.
At the dedication, district manager Tilley McMullen was presented the prestigious Patriot Award, a Department of Defense award presented to civilian employers of U.S. National Guard and Reserve service members for her support of during their training duties and possible deployments.
“It was a humbling experience to receive an award for what feels like just doing my job. I was honored to accept it on behalf of my team and look forward to having the opportunity to support even more military members and spouses through our first Military Family Store here in Frederick, Maryland. It’s a privilege to support our partners who have volunteered to serve our nation,” said McMullen.
This month, Starbucks will host three more Military Family Store dedications to bring together the community and celebrate their commitment to military families in Arden Hills, Minnesota; Warrensburg, Missouri; and Sumter, South Carolina.
Fostering connection and circles of support for our military communities
During Military Appreciation Month, Starbucks will partner with Operation Gratitude and Blue Star Families on a Starbucks eGift Card to drive donations to uplift military and veteran families.
Specifically, for every Starbucks eGift Card in the Military Appreciation Month category sold between May 1-31, Starbucks will donate $5 to be divided evenly between the two organizations.
In addition, as part of Starbucks longstanding partnership with veteran service organizations, the company is encouraging partners to engage in programming offered through both Blue Stars Families and Operation Gratitude as well as attend events hosting by the Starbucks Armed Forces Network throughout Military Appreciation Month.
This May, Blue Star Families is hosting 60 Military Spouse Appreciation Events in Starbucks stores in 25 U.S. states and Germany. Members of Blue Star Families will have the opportunity to nominate a military spouse to receive a $10 Starbucks eGift Card, as part of Starbucks and Blue Star Families’ “Thanks a Latte” giveaway.
Veteran Service Organizations by the numbers
To date, Starbucks has impacted 900,000+ veterans, military spouses and military communities through veteran service organizations (VSOs).
- 26,000+ military families supported in partnership with Blue Star Families.
- 200,000 veterans and supporters participating in programming and events to build a healthy lifestyle in their communities in partnership with Team Red, White & Blue.
- 16,000+ veterans deployed in service in partnership with The Mission Continues.
- 625,000+ helped in partnership with Operations Gratitude.
Year-round support for the military community
While Military Appreciation Month is just one month out of the year, Starbucks commitment to support the military community is a year-round effort:
- Hiring veterans and military spouses: In fiscal year 2022, 4,580 veterans and military spouses across Starbucks roles in the United States.
- Offering partner benefits specifically for active-duty military and military families: This includes military service pay which provides up to 80 hours of pay each year when National Guard or Reserve service obligations take them away from their work with the company.
- Supporting nonprofit organizations: This includes Blue Star Families, which help foster connections in over 200 military communities nationwide and Operation Gratitude, to which Starbucks has donated more than 5,000 comfort items to our veterans and caregivers in military treatment facilities nationwide.
- Donating coffee to veteran and military communities: This includes more than 6.8 million cups in fiscal year 2022.
More about how Starbucks supports the military community can be found in Starbucks Annual Global Environmental Social Impact Report (GESI).