(Updates share price in 10th paragraph.)
Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, will start collecting donations online and at some of its cafes to spur job creation among community businesses in the U.S.
Starbucks will accept money beginning Nov. 1 to help fund loans to small businesses, according to a statement today. Seattle-based Starbucks is working with Opportunity Finance Network, which represents institutions that provide credit to community businesses, to form “Create Jobs for USA.”
“We’re going to raise millions of dollars,” Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said today in a telephone interview, declining to give a specific number. “This is about Americans helping Americans,” he said. “We’re not going to wait for Washington.”
In August, Schultz, 58, asked fellow CEOs and business leaders to boycott donating to U.S. political campaigns to encourage leaders to solve the nation’s growing budget deficit. Last month, he sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress urging them to put partisanship aside to find a solution to unemployment.
Starbucks will open at least 200 new stores and remodel 1,700 locations in the U.S. this fiscal year, which will create “well over 2,000 jobs,” Schultz said. “Business leaders can step up and we can create a renewed level of confidence by investing in the economy and creating job opportunities.”
The coffee company opened 27 net new stores in the U.S. in the quarter ended July 3.
Donations will be earmarked in a special fund at Opportunity Finance Network and distributed to 180 community- development financial institutions that provide credit to small businesses across the nation. Starbucks is giving $5 million to start the fund.
The Create Jobs for USA website will track total donations and project the number of jobs created, Mark Pinsky, the president of Opportunity Finance Network, said in an interview. The money will finance a range of businesses including small retailers, affordable housing developers and non-profit organizations, he said.
Donors who give $5 or more will receive a red, white and blue wristband with the word “indivisible,” Starbucks said. There are more than 10,900 Starbucks locations in the U.S. and 6,800 will be collecting money.
Starbucks fell $1.09, or 2.9 percent, to $36.20 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The shares have gained 13 percent this year.
“Fiscal year 2012 will be filled with strong levels of innovation within all categories of Starbucks,” Schultz said. “Food will be a big part of it.”
--Editors: Kevin Orland, Robin Ajello
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