Starbucks finds partners for job fund

Eve Troeh Apr 4, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: What do Google, the Gap, and Starbucks have in common? They’re all participating in a new job creation program that relies on your purchases.

Marketplace’s Eve Troeh reports.

Eve Troeh: Starbucks has never been about just making money, says V.P. of communications Jim Olson. It’s about:

Jim Olson: Nurturing and inspiring humanity.

Frustrated at Washington gridlock, CEO Howard Schultz started the Create Jobs for USA fund last year. Starbucks Foundation gave $5 million to make loans in low-income neighborhoods — everything from charter schools to a gelato shop.

Olson: It’s the smaller businesses and community organizations that are having the door shut on them.

Mostly by big banks, Olson says. Customers have donated $2.5 million to the cause, buying jobs wristbands alongside their lattes. Now divisions of Google and The Gap will chip in sales revenue that could add millions more. Olson says the fund could create or save about 4,000 jobs.

Jerry Nickelsburg: Kind of a small drop in the bucket.

Says UCLA economist Jerry Nickelsburg.

Nickelsburg: It’s not a national jobs strategy, it’s Starbucks pursuing its own self interest.

As companies should do, he says. Just don’t mistake good marketing for a jobs miracle.

I’m Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

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