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Starbucks Foundation Awards Grants To Local Non-Profits

Friday March 4th, 2022, 6:16pm


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From macchiatos to making connections, a well-known restaurant chain is helping non-profits.

Working with local partners in Windsor-Essex county and beyond, Starbucks has recently given back to the community through charity project grants. In April 2021, area 27 (which includes 1,800 km of store locations) was awarded eight, totalling $12,000. In the most recent round of nominations from December 2021, that number increased to 29 grants worth $73,750.

Announced in late-January, many local charities were part of this number.

“In our district alone, we raised $32,500 of that amount,” said Toni Bruner, Community Lead for Starbucks Windsor-Leamington-Chatham and Area 27. “Our grant winners were Trans Wellness Ontario, the Kids First Food Bank, the Downtown Mission, Building Bridges Leamington, Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre and Ryan’s House Addiction Centre out of Sarnia, which was in our district at the time of nominations).”

For two weeks in April and December, Starbucks partners can nominate a non-profit. Wanting to showcase the charities that eventually received grants, local stores focused on nominating them specifically: this resulted in the area having the second highest amount of nominations in Canada.

While passion and visibility help, submissions are also reviewed by an impartial team at the Starbucks Foundation. Looking at the work they do overall and what programs can be supported, winners are then decided on and notified after this four week period.

Despite being awarded only twice a year, stores regularly help these non-profits as well.

“As Starbucks partners, we are already very community focused and our partners here are regularly volunteering with these organizations that we have nominated,” said Bruner. “Some of our volunteering includes weekly dinner service, food drives, hygiene drives, fundraisers, donating our end of day food and giving our time however we can. Our area has some of the most engaged partners when it comes to community and they are always ready to support and help whenever and wherever we can.”

Representing eleven districts of eight-to-twelve stores each, every area covers a lot of ground. As a result, partners working with such groups have helped communities across the country. Beyond that, it’s also allowed all involved to make connections that extend past a specific Starbucks location.

Receiving these grants, winning non-profits have gained the ability to grow stronger as well.

“I think there are so many amazing non-profits in our area but these stood out to our partners to nominate specifically for the amazing work that is being done by them,” said Bruner. “Trans Wellness Ontario is supporting not only those in the Trans and LGBTQIA2+ communities, but also holding many workshops around education and awareness. Kids First Food Bank is expanding with a wellness and fitness program and is doing such incredible work with our youngest population. Building Bridges in Leamington is working very hard creating safe spaces for at-risk youth in Leamington. The Downtown Mission and their branch of the Windsor Youth Centre are so focused on our most vulnerable population. The Women’s Centre in Chatham-Kent focuses on helping women and children in very at-risk situations and helping them in any way they can. All of these non-profits are working so hard and being able to even nominate them for more visibility was something we as a team were very focused on doing.”

Canadian nominations resulted in 197 grants between $1,000 and $10,000. Given this success in December, funding has been increased country-wide by $350,000 for the next round in April.

Although recent grants helped many, Bruner is happy they will assist communities even more.

“I’m personally so excited to hear that nominations have grown the funds in Canada and I think there are even more organizations, both locally and nationally, that these grants could help to really expand their programming,” she said. “We are approaching the Spring/Summer round of nominations. I know our team across Ontario is really excited to have even more nominations come in and potentially even more winners that we can help and support. The work that our non-profit partners do is such important work and they already are working so hard to make such a difference in our community. If we can support them further through these grants, I want to try and help as many of these partners as we can.”

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