August 2009. Vogue magazine had a profile on Christy Turlington Burns. Mother. Director. Activist, and yes, something about being a Supermodel, too. What struck me most in reading this article was her passion for the issue of maternal health and the fact that she was using her name and influence for a greater good.
After her own experience of giving birth with complications, she had chosen to bring greater awareness to the issue by directing and co-producing No Woman, No Cry, a documentary about maternal health. It tells the compelling stories of at-risk pregnant women in four parts of the world (Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the United States).
When I think about the 13 years I've spent in Seattle, I'm truly impressed by the spirit of volunteerism here. I've had the pleasure of engaging with lots of folks who embody the spirit of volunteerism, but none more than the Sanford family.
I've known the Sanfords for as long as I have been here, and I recently asked the members of the family about how this spirit of giving evolved.
At our Los Angeles event on April 9 for the Global Month of Service, more than 600 Starbucks partners (employees) and customers engaged in meaningful projects. During this event, Starbucks volunteers revitalized three school campuses to help create a better learning environment for thousands of students.
The great work we accomplished at Crenshaw High School included painting murals with the school mascot, landscaping the campus grounds by pulling invasive plants, and repainting columns and walls to help improve the campus.
Were you at this event? Tell us your favorite part!
Joshua founded Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.) in 2006. Its goal: to translate sustainability education into local action that is practical, effective and fun. G.A.L.A. received a Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ Youth Action Grant in 2010 through the International Youth Foundation to engage youth “Sustain-A-Raisers” to help families in New Hampshire pursue more sustainable lifestyles.
There is a powerful renewable resource right under our noses that gets little attention these days compared to the familiar icons of solar panels and wind turbines.
It’s people. Especially young people.
The Every Mother Counts CD compilation features 15 songs by 14 mother/musicians. We asked them to contribute an original song or a cover around the theme of motherhood.
It could be anything they wanted, and many chose to tackle lullabies or wrote songs for their children. Early on, I worried a bit about an album supporting an issue as serious as maternal mortality, as it could potentially become a heavy listen. But thankfully I found the resulting record veers back and forth between the sweet and the bittersweet, capturing a richness and a greater complexity – exactly like life.
The collaboration that developed throughout the length of the project between Christy Turlington Burns, her assistant (the now legendary Nicolas Newbold) and myself was a focused, organic endeavor that inspired each of us. It was a tight work unit that kept each other looped in and quickly figured out how to pull all this off under quick deadlines, often having to track down convoluted connections. Christy made it easy and a thorough pleasure. No matter where in the world she might be at any given moment (shooting further film footage in Tanzania, a modeling gig in Paris, a film screening of NWNC in the U.K., or even while spending time with her family on Christmas Eve!), she was immediately available online to answer any question, concern, or to second an idea, to problem-solve or simply to joyously celebrate the sound of a new song. She is truly one of a kind.
I once heard that the definition of “community” in the 1950s was sitting on your porch swing, sipping pink lemonade and waving at neighbors as they passed by. I know now that Starbucks also serves as a front porch and our stores are part of a community where people come to congregate, to mingle, to get involved!
Since high school, I’ve been passionate about my community and giving back to those who are in need – whether it was to restore trails or raise money doing charity events. When I came to work at Starbucks 13 years ago, I was excited to find a company that shared my passion for the community and I’ve been inspired to do more.
Starbucks has enabled me to work with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, where I watched a mother help build a house for her family that was still living in Kenya. I experienced the emotions of young single mothers who received a safe and clean place to live through Vine Maple Place, an organization much like Habitat.
Throughout our history, Starbucks has been actively involved in our local neighborhoods and our coffee-growing communities, and exploring ways to minimize the environmental impact of our stores.
Ten years ago, we joined a small but growing number of companies openly assessing their corporate citizenship efforts by publishing our first annual report on these areas. With this simple step, we acknowledged our responsibility to lead by example and put into place measures to ensure transparency and accountability for our progress and performance on community and environmental impacts of our business.
k.d. lang has racked up a number of remarkable accomplishments in a quarter-century-plus recording career that’s led to the release of her 12th studio album, Sing It Loud (now available at Starbucks).
Restlessly creative, she’s nevertheless found consistent commercial success. She’s a four-time GRAMMY® Award winner who has been called “the best singer of her generation” by no less an authority on the subject than Tony Bennett. I recall being genuinely awestruck the first time I heard her sing at the Fillmore in San Francisco. She’s got rare pipes and she absolutely knows what to do with them, as her latest album attests.
Our hearts have been with our partners, our friends and their families in Japan.
Two weeks ago, we asked Pink Martini to create song for our friends in Japan. Pink Martini, the “little orchestra” from Portland, Oregon has been a favorite of ours since their debut release “Sympathique” in 1997. We love the band, we love their music and we consider them part of the Starbucks family. A few days after our phone call, the band recorded this beautiful song, “Yuuzuki”, with guest vocals from Japanese actress, Saori Yuki.
Pink Martini is donating all net proceeds from the purchase of the song on iTunes to Red Cross Japan.
We asked Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini about the song, you can find the conversation below.
In our work with the people of Starbucks, we’ve experienced your commitment to community service. But there is one thing that has convinced me that we were meant to work together – and that is our shared devotion to creating moments of connection. It is those moments of connection with other people that make us smile, bring much-needed comfort, feed our optimism and inspire us to pass the good feeling along to someone else.
At our recent Tribute to President George H. W. Bush, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with four former presidents and inspiring individuals who have devoted their lives to creating change. In meeting them and hearing their stories, a common thread emerged – they simply saw a need and wanted to help.
Service is grounded in moments of connection. These are the connections we make with the strangers we seek to help, the friends and colleagues we work with and the individuals who come forward to share how their lives have been made better that keep us engaged.
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