Volunteering has enormous benefits, not only for the community but also for the volunteer. However, most people don’t do it primarily because they just can’t find the time in their busy lives. Knowing that volunteering reduces stress, gives a sense of purpose through helping others, and is overall great for an individual’s mental and physical health, Starbucks is going to pay employees to spend half their working hours volunteering. By doing so, they hope to have happier workers that love their job and want to remain a part of the corporation for as long as possible.
The innovative employer-led non-profit service is a collaborative effort of Starbucks and Points of Light. The program called Service Fellows pilot is intended to deepen a positive impact in communities. Through the Points of Light Institute, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, Starbucks will provide their employees with the opportunity to serve with a local nonprofit in their communities.
“Starbucks partners have a passion for service both in and out of their stores. The program powers that passion through philanthropy and partnerships to have the greatest impact,” said Virginia Tenpenny, vice president of global social impact at Starbucks and executive director of The Starbucks Foundation. “Our Service Fellows pilot is an innovative model that combines work, service, and partnerships, a model that will inform how we catalyze our partners and grantees to create enduring change in our communities.”
For this initial six-month pilot, 36 workers have been selected across 13 different cities across the United States. They will each serve with a local Points of Light affiliate in their communities. Half of their 40 hour work week will be spent at their Starbucks location while the other half will be spent at a charity. Service at charities includes helping the environment, feeding the hungry, aiding the homeless, supporting refugees, and facilitating disaster relief. They will continue to receive all of their usual full-time benefits like comprehensive healthcare, equity in the form of company stock, and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.
By the end of the pilot, they will have collectively provided more than 17,000 hours of community service. If the program is found to be successful Starbucks might start recruiting more workers for the initiative in fall 2019.
“We believe this bold program, designed in partnership with Starbucks, will redefine corporate engagement and the private sector’s ability to support civic engagement,” said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light. “Starbucks’ investment in the 13 communities served by this initiative will not only spark positive change through more than 17,000 hours of community service, but it also serves as a model for an employer-led capacity-building program that Starbucks and other corporate partners can scale globally in the future.”