On Tuesday, coffee company Starbucks announced increased investments into to launch a Community Resilience Fund, focusing on supporting small business operations in communities with large communities of color.
The chain store is also launching a new educational program in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, helping digitally circulate the museum curriculum.
“Starbucks has always been a company focused on caring for our partners, creating experiences for our customers and playing a positive role in our communities and throughout society,” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to make this investment as it aligns with our Mission and Values and supports our aspiration to advance equity and opportunity in the communities we serve.”
Following the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020, Starbucks was one of the slew of companies that pledged to invest sizable portions of their profits into supporting racially maligned and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.
Its Resilience Fund aims to invest $100 million to “advance racial equity and environmental resilience” in communities with a lack of access to capital required to grow businesses.
Initial rounds of funding are slated to hit cities including Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington D.C.
The company will partner with local Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) to distribute capital.
“Starbucks is investing in the survival of small business by working with CDFIs in key cities across America. CDFIs deliver affordable credit as well as training on disaster recovery and rebuilding – and that is exactly what small businesses need right now to withstand ongoing economic and climate changes,” said Lisa Mensah, the CEO of the nonprofit Opportunity Finance Network. “With partners like Starbucks and CDFIs, these small businesses will have a fighting chance to recover, rebuild, hire workers and serve their local economy.”
One of these organizations was Green Era Sustainability, another Chicago-based organization that works to cultivate local food production. The funding helped construct a sustainable campus in the Auburn Gresham Chicago area, along with 25 permanent jobs.