Will Starbucks’ “˜Visibly Invisible’ Campaign Succeed in Helping the Country’s Small Businesses?

In collaboration with GOOD Corp., a social innovation firm associated with GOOD magazine, Starbucks has launched its Create Jobs for USA campaign. In an effort to spread awareness and provide assistance to small businesses, the coffee company has partnered up with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a group of community lending institutions set up to provide financing to struggling community businesses. The Starbucks Foundation donated $5 million to kick things off and plans to raise money buy selling red, white and blue woven wristbands which have the word “INDIVISIBLE” engraved on a silver block for $5.

According to the OFN, each $5 donation will allow for $35 in financing from community lenders. The network estimates that one job will be created for every $21,000 in loans or about $3,000 in donations. So for every 600 people who donate $5, one job will be created. The numbers are disappointing, but at least it’s a start.

The OFN plans to use the money raised to provide capital grants to select Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The CDFIs will provide loans to underserved community businesses, which include small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing. The goal of the campaign is to “bring people and communities together to create and sustain jobs throughout America.” It’s hard to tell how much momentum the effort will gain, but the hope is that it will spark a conversation that will continue to fuel future projects.

GOOD Corp. developed a series of infographic GOODSheets which spell out the project in simple terms for curious Starbuck customers. The wristbands can be found at any of the 7,000 Starbucks stores across the nation.

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