Starbucks donates more than US$3M to global COVID-19 relief efforts

Howard Schultz

The Starbucks Foundation has announced it is donating more than US$3 million globally to support community response efforts to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.

“As the world grapples with an issue of enormous scale and human impact, we are dedicated to serving communities through the lens of our mission and values: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time,” says John Kelly, board member of The Starbucks Foundation.

“We believe that together we can make a difference and, together, we will overcome this unprecedented challenge.”

Bolstering relief efforts globally
On a global scale, The Starbucks Foundation will contribute US$1 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization (WHO), powered by the United Nations.

The fund strengthens WHO’s efforts to track and understand the spread of the virus, helps patients get the care they need, and sees workers get essential supplies and information. It also aims to accelerate the development of vaccines, tests, and treatments.

“Diseases don’t respect borders, and I am so grateful to The Starbucks Foundation, one of my home state’s great innovators, for helping fight this pandemic both locally and globally,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the UN Foundation.

“This historic fund marks the first time everyone can help WHO’s lifesaving work supporting all countries to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19, especially where needs are greatest.”

In China, where early signs of recovery from COVID-19 are showing, The Starbucks Foundation will contribute US$1 million to Give2Asia to fund a project focused on supporting front-line medical workers, and strengthening grassroots capabilities to safeguard the future of local communities.

The donation will help provide training to doctors in less developed areas on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of coronavirus and other respiratory diseases; educate local communities on disease prevention; and offer free counselling to healthcare workers psychologically impacted by COVID-19.

The donation follows Starbucks China’s ¥3 million (about US$420,000) donation to the China Red Cross Foundation. This donation was issued in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

Supporting vulnerable communities in the United States and Canada
Beginning with local non-profit partners in Starbucks’ home of Seattle, The Starbucks Foundation has donated US$250,000 – with a focus on helping unsheltered families and vulnerable populations in shelters prepare and stay safe.

Starbucks says these donations to Mary’s Place, Wellspring Family Services, United Way of King County, Catholic Community Services, and FareStart are helping support preparedness and stabilisation of families and individuals in shelter, and ensure continued service delivery, especially as needs of the most vulnerable increase.

“We are in uncharted territory, learning together how we can best keep our families and loved ones safe and healthy. We are so thankful for our partners at The Starbucks Foundation who have come alongside us and more than 600 moms, dads, and children who are staying in our shelter communities, to help bridge the gap and make sure we have what we need to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place.

“This critical funding will help with unforeseen expenses for medical and cleaning supplies, additional staff, and overtime to help care for more than 300 children in shelter who no longer have school to go to each day, and curb the threat of the virus by helping more families move out of shelter and into housing.”

This support is in addition to The Starbucks Foundation’s US$250,000 donation in early March to help launch the COVID-19 Response Fund hosted by Seattle Foundation.

In New York City, where the virus has the highest rate of community spread, The Starbucks Foundation is contributing US$250,000 to Robin Hood’s COVID Response Fund, which supports non-profit organisations on the front lines in providing emergency support to New Yorkers.

Another US$50,000 donation will enable United Way of New York City to provide food, learning, and other resources to communities disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the crisis.

The Starbucks Foundation is also contributing US$25,000 to the New York City Police Foundation to purchase supplies that NYPD officers need to keep themselves safe, and US$25,000 to the Food Bank for New York City to ensure New York residents in need continue to have access to meals during times of crisis.

Nationally, The Starbucks Foundation supported United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund with a $250,000 donation to help the most vulnerable populations across the US receive critical financial and social service support.

“The United Way network is responding in communities around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Suzanne McCormick, US President of United Way Worldwide.

“We are grateful that The Starbucks Foundation has joined us in our response. This generous donation to the United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund and to United Way of New York, will allow us to continue to support local communities as we grapple with this massive health and economic crisis.”

In Canada, The Starbucks Foundation is supporting vulnerable communities and front-line health care workers with a CA$100,000 (about US$71,000) donation to United Way Centraide Canada’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund and a CA$100,000 donation to support hospital foundations across the country.

In addition to these donations, last week, Starbucks announced it will give a free tall brewed coffee to front-line responders to the COVID-19 outbreak through 3 May.

This commitment was accompanied by a US$500,000 donation from The Starbucks Foundation to support US front-line responders. Equal donations went to Direct Relief to support the delivery of personal protective equipment and essential medical items and to Operation Gratitude to deliver 50,000 care packages and handwritten letters to first responders and health care workers.

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