Today I stopped by Starbucks for a coffee, just like I do every day. But this time I found something interesting next to the cash register. It was this great looking bracelet. I saw it was a $5 donation for jobs, and not knowing much more than that, I bought one. I then headed back to my chair to check it out.
When I took the bracelet off the card it was attached to, I found a really stoutly-made bracelet. It kind of reminded me of a bungee cord. It had the word “indivisible” written on the pewter colored metal that is part of the bracelet. The card that the bracelet was attached to directs you to their website www.createjobsforUSA.org. I pulled out my iPhone and got on their website, and what I found was a really worthwhile endeavor.
What Starbucks has done is hooked up with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFM). Starbucks has given OFM five million bucks to kick it all off. In turn, OFM will give grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). The CDFI will then give loans to underserved community businesses, like small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing.
When visiting their website I ran into some interesting facts. One fact that they cite on their website is that 65% of our new jobs created in the last 15 years have come from small businesses. Another was that even though the goverment cites a 9.1% unemployment rate, it is much higher in the hispanic community running around 11.3% and even higher in the african-american community hovering around almost 17%. What these numbers don’t include are the people that have quit looking for jobs because they just can’t find one.
That is why OFM has assembled a network of over 180 CDFI lending institutions that are ready to make loans. These loans will benefit low-income and other disadvantaged communities in these great United States of America. The loans will help small businesses that might normally have a hard time even getting the attention of a lending institution find financing for their business and by doing so will directly impact their own individual communities. Therefore the end result will be more jobs, plain and simple. It will be knowing that every $3,000.00 that is raised or donated by the sale of the bracelets will aid in the creation of one additional job or the maintainance of an existing job.
What could be better than that? It’s a hand up, not a hand out that we can all extend to the small business owner and our neighbors in need of jobs. Nothing is more meaningful or purposeful than having a job, a way to support ourselves and our families.
The next time you stop at Starbucks for your favorite beverage consider giving someone you don’t know a hand up. For the cost of one fancy drink you will have performed a random act of kindness. The drink will taste good, you’ll feel good and in the end it’ll do a whole lot of good.
For The Colonel’s Journal – I’m Kirk Enwright