March 31, 2016 Community

A History of Giving Back Fuels Starbucks Global Month of Service

It had to be something special.

Six years ago, when a group of Starbucks partners (employees) began planning the company’s 40th anniversary, it was clear the celebration needed to be a manifestation of the company’s mission and values.

Rodney Hines, director of Community Investments for Starbucks U.S. Retail Operations, suggested incorporating volunteer service into the celebration.

“What truly embodies the spirit of our company is courage and passion – courage and passion to improve the lot of others and to not be a bystander,” said Hines. “We thought what better way to recognize four decades of Starbucks in locations around the world than a global service project.”

One day or one week didn’t allow enough time for hundreds of thousands of partners to participate in community service projects. Realizing it would take at least a month, Starbucks Global Month of Service was born.

Throughout April, the company celebrates partners’ daily commitment to improving their local neighborhoods by shining a spotlight on service for 30 consecutive days. During the month, partners around the world lead service projects and invite other partners, customers and community members to volunteer with them. Tomorrow (April 1) marks the sixth consecutive year that the company has coordinated this event.

“Partners have always led service projects in their communities,” said Mary Dixon, director, Starbucks College Achievement Plan, who was asked to help coordinate the massive global event. “Leading up to Starbucks 40th anniversary there was a real desire to give partners a sense of where we were as a company and ground them once again in our heritage. Global Month of Service moved volunteerism back into the forefront.”

“We had mobilized large groups of partners in service before, like helping rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina during Starbucks 2008 Leadership Conference,” Hines added. “However, this represented the first time we would collectively serve as a company on a global scale at the same time.”

The first year of Global Month of Service resulted in 1,400 projects across 30 countries, 60,000 volunteers and 156,000 hours of service. The work, which included cleaning parks, painting murals at elementary schools and renovating houses, benefitted more than 250,000 people in neighborhoods around the world.

One key aspect of Starbucks Global Month of Service – and the company’s approach to community service in general – has made it stand out over the years.

“Our service projects are unique from other companies because of the trusting relationship partners have with our customers and their license to invite them to participate with us,” said Hines. “I don’t think that exists with a lot of companies.”

Excitement for Global Month of Service has continued each year since 2011 through projects addressing a variety of critical needs in local communities. Last year, the company encouraged partners to focus on service projects that support Opportunity Youth – young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school nor employed. Partners answered the call by planning hiring fairs where youth received help building their resumes and honing interview skills. Some young people were even hired on the spot. This focus on Opportunity Youth will continue this year.

 “Global Month of Service has helped instill in our partners that you can own what you want to see,” said Hines. “I get excited about the impact of our work in local communities and what that means for partners. They truly feel a responsibility and accountability to take action.”

Customers and partners can find volunteer projects through Starbucks Community Service Website.

For more information on this story, contact the Starbucks Newsroom