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National Restaurant Association - NRA salutes Starbucks for jobs plan initiative

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NRA salutes Starbucks for jobs plan initiative

The National Restaurant Association applauded Starbucks Coffee Company for its Nov. 1 rollout of a national jobs fund. The fund will create and sustain jobs in underserved communities throughout the United States.

"Starbucks has a well-earned reputation for innovation and creativity and this new jobs plan initiative is added evidence of that," said Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive of the National Restaurant Association. "This program is another example of how the restaurant industry continues to increase job creation in this country. We salute Starbucks and Howard Schultz for the commitment they are showing, not just to the communities they serve, but to communities everywhere."

The fund, called Create Jobs for USA, was developed by Starbucks Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Schultz in partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network. It calls for all Starbucks customers and partners, including employees, to make donations to kick start lending for and hiring at small businesses. Those who donate $5 or more receive a red, white and blue wristband inscribed with the word "Indivisible" on its face. According to Starbucks, the wristbands are handmade and manufactured in America, thus helping to support the U.S. manufacturing industry.

The program, which was seeded with a $5 million contribution from the Starbucks Foundation, is meant to stimulate and inspire Americans to take action and help improve the national jobs crisis. The U.S. unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.1 percent.

"The Create Jobs for USA program and ... wristbands provide Americans [with] an opportunity to help support job creation at a time when we have alarming unemployment and many struggling small businesses," Schultz said in a written statement. "The more we stimulate demand and increase the purchasing power of middle-class consumers, the faster we will recover. By making a donation ..., Starbucks customers and concerned citizens can take meaningful action to help create and sustain American jobs."

Shultz said he hoped the initiative would inspire Americans to "come together to be catalysts for change by giving community businesses access to the credit they need to hire, to grow and to contribute to creating thriving communities."

Mark Pinsky, president and chief executive of OFN, said the fund is ready to begin lending and has made grants to Community Development Financial Institutions with the initial $5 million donation. OFN represents a nationwide network of 180 CDFIs.

"This peer-to-peer job creation initiative is a simple, high-impact solution to put America back to work," he said in a written statement.

For more information about Create Jobs for USA, visit the website at www.CreateJobsforUSA.org. Small business owners interested in applying for loans should go to www.opportunityfinance.net/findacdfi.

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