Neighborhood Grants: Starbucks & The Starbucks Foundation
The Starbucks Foundation’s Neighborhood Grants program supports grassroots, community-led initiatives nominated by Starbucks partners (employees) in their community. Since 2019, more than 8,000 Starbucks employees have participated and grants have been awarded to nearly 2,000 organizations across the U.S. and Canada, totaling nearly $4 million. The Neighborhood Grants program has two primary objectives:
- to support local communities through catalytic investments in the form of small grants to grassroots organizations
- to engage partners as community champions and voices of change while deepening existing partner involvement with community organizations
In 2020, as part of Starbucks’ commitment to advance racial and social equity, The Starbucks Foundation focused its next round of Neighborhood Grants to address racial inequity and promote more equitable communities. The Foundation consulted a panel of nonprofit, philanthropic and civil rights experts who shared insights on racial inequity, shaped grant criteria and provided organizations to consider for grants. Next, The Starbucks Foundation prioritized three areas of impact to address: economic mobility and opportunity, health and social services, and youth empowerment, focusing on organizations that provide direct services in Black communities and communities of color. The Foundation prioritized Black-led organizations and those that have limited access to philanthropic support, in addition to considering organizations that served underinvested towns and rural communities.
Additionally, The Starbucks Foundation partnered with Starbucks’ Black Partner Network chapters (employee resource group) to create a short list of BIPOC-led grassroots organizations across each state. This allowed employees to either vote for a vetted and approved local organization or to nominate one. With this approach, participation in the Neighborhood Grants program set a record high, with more than 4,000 employees nominating a local organization. Ultimately, The Starbucks Foundation awarded 430 grants totaling $1.5 million to nonprofit organizations.
The Starbucks Foundation also encouraged partners (employees) to continue to find ways to engage and deepen their engagement with local organizations, some of which they learned about for the first time through the Neighborhood Grants program. Partners used the opportunity to learn more about the social issues important to their communities, understand how local organizations were tackling them and explore ways that they could personally create positive impact. Neighborhood Grants also motivated partners to advocate for and invite other partners to become community champions and join in volunteer projects such as donation drives or engage with local partner networks. Starbucks partners also raised awareness and recognition for their local Neighborhood Grant recipient through a poster on their stores’ community boards.