Crowdfunding via Starbucks

Starting next weeks Americans can help to jump-start the economy sipping coffee at Starbucks. By donating 5 US$ they help to fund community loans to community businesses—including small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing— all across the country committed to creating and sustaining jobs. Donors who contribute $5 or more will receive a red, white, and blue wristband with the message “Indivisible.”

The initiative is called Create Jobs for USA. Loans will be given out by the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), which represents a nationwide network of 180 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) set up to provide financing to community businesses in underserved markets where accessing credit through traditional lending institutions is challenging or not available. The Create Jobs for USA Fund at OFN will be seeded with a $5 million contribution from the Starbucks Foundation.

The donations to “Create Jobs for USA” will not be loaned to the CDFIs. They will be turned into equity that can be leveraged. If that equity can be leveraged 7 to 1, that would result in 350 million US$ loan funding, if Starbucks customers donate 50 million US$.