SEATTLE ( TheStreet) -- Starbucks ( SBUX) soon will be asking customers to donate $5 for its "Create Jobs for USA" program, which provides loans to small businesses.
The coffee shop chain said early Monday it's joining forces with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) in pooling donations from Starbucks customers to help stimulate community business lending. OFN is a nonprofit organization that works with community development financial institutions and provides small business loans. "Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing more than half of all private sector workers -- but this critical jobs engine has stalled," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. "We've got to thaw the channels of credit so that community businesses can start hiring again. Create Jobs for USA empowers Americans to help other Americans create and sustain jobs, with Starbucks and OFN as a catalyst and the Indivisible wristband as a symbol of our country's unity." Customers who donate $5 to the program will receive red, white and blue wristbands that say "Indivisible" on them. Starbucks will begin asking for the donations at nearly 6,800 of its U.S. stores on Nov. 1, and Create Jobs for USA will accept donations at its Web site. Starbucks said 100% of the donations will go to OFN's loan-funding program, which serves small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate and affordable housing, in an effort to stimulate job growth. Shares of Starbucks were unchanged at $37.29 in premarket trading Monday morning.