May 07, 2014
Opportunity Finance Network Reports on Starbucks Partnership
by Robert Kropp
The national network of community development financial institutions joined with Starbucks in 2011
to form Create Jobs For USA, an initiative to fund sustainable jobs in underserved communities.
In 2011, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the
national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), teamed with Starbucks to
launch Create Jobs For USA, an
initiative designed to “help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities throughout the US,”
an OFN press release stated at the time.
Donations from Starbucks customers and
other sources are pooled into a nationwide fund managed by OFN for community business lending by
CDFIs. Furthermore, CDFIs leverage additional investments from other sources. With leverage as a
multiplier, Create Jobs for USA estimates that every $3,000 in donations can create one job for a
small business in underserved communities.
OFN recently published Six Lessons Learned from Create Jobs for USA, the first of three reports intended to assess
the accomplishments of the partnership. “The most effective way to show the initiative’s success
was by telling the stories of borrowers—small businesses, commercial real estate developers, and
housing developers—and the communities in which they operate,” the report states.
time of the initiative's launch, the global economy was still reeling from the damage caused by the
financial crisis. Nationally in the US, the unemployment rate was nine percent. Traditionally
underserved communities bore the worst of the impacts. Earlier that year, CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell said, "Recovery is occurring
much slower in our nation's low-income communities. CDFIs across the nation continue their critical
work on the front-lines of bringing economic recovery to all communities."
As of December,
2013, there were more than 800 government-certified CDFIs in the US, and in 2012 total assets under
management exceeded $64 billion.
“Since its launch,” the report states, “Create Jobs for
USA has raised $15.2 million. The money has come from a combination of individual donors,
corporations, and philanthropies.” Individuals contributed more than $3.5 million of the total
amount raised. The initiative continues to accept donations.
Capital grants were awarded
to 120 CDFIs, which then leveraged debt from other sources to provide loans to small businesses in
underserved communities. The total supported lending to community businesses exceeded $106 million.
According to the report, the initiative enabled more than 5,000 Americans to keep their jobs or get
back to work.
“Corporate-nonprofit partnerships can create significant impact, visibility,
resources, and momentum,” the report concluded. The track record of this initiative can serve as a
model for mutually beneficial corporate-CDFI-individual partnerships aimed at finding solutions to
all of these economic and social issues that hold back too many individuals and communities
However, “Measurable performance and impact are essential,” as well. The two
reports scheduled to follow “will focus on the substantial effort that Starbucks and OFN undertook
with Create Jobs for USA Awardees to collect and analyze data on job creation and retention,” and
“analyze the data results related to jobs based on the thousands of loans that Awardees made and
reported on since the inception of Create Jobs for USA.”
“A unique set of
players—corporations, individuals, CDFIs, and community businesses—came together around their
shared belief in small businesses and jobs to make a difference,” said Mark Pinsky, President and
CEO of OFN. “This model is replicable for solutions to other economic problems. CDFIs offer a
powerful solution, especially when coupled with corporate and individual partners, to create
opportunities for all.”