Starbucks Community Connections Program
Seven years of responding to local neighbourhood needs and serving MENA communities.
Between 2008 and 2016, the Community Connection Program was Starbucks MENA’s earliest and most recurring community service program; bringing together thousands of partners (employees), customers and beneficiary groups together in neighbourhoods across the Middle East & North Africa region.
In 2017 the Community Connections Program had come to a close; now we’re looking at new, even better ways to raise our social impact agenda in the region.
Community Connections was launched globally in early 2008 as a community involvement program led by store partners (employees) to enable them to “connect, discover and respond” to their neighborhood needs. In the seven years that followed, the Community Connections Program mobilized over 5,000 volunteers in more than 350 community service projects that served youth, the disadvantaged, and environmental conservation groups.
Program Approach & Themes
Community Connections was entirely led by store partners in partnership with local beneficiary groups and authorities around the key thematic areas of Youth and Environment. These themes can be seen throughout the Starbucks value chain: from supporting sustainably ground and ethically sourced coffee, to providing young people with pathways to opportunity all around the world. Once every three months, every group of stores identified community needs that could be addressed through service projects, and worked with relevant civil society organizations to plan and execute these projects.
In 2015, we focused on three key areas to address common social issues facing local communities: Adopt a School, Plant a Tree, and Create a Youthful Space. As a result, a total of 1,600 trees were planted, 25 schools were adopted and two youthful spaces were created in our 10 MENA markets by the end of 2016.
We make sure our community stakeholders are effectively engaged across different project phases. This allows us to build meaningful connections and maintain an informed approach to our community work.
Our Partners (Employees)
Besides being the main driving force behind the program, and taking the lead in connecting with the local communities, our partners have played an essential role in shaping this program. Over the years, more than 4,500 partners directly got involved in the program as volunteers, with more than 800 partners taking the lead on social projects.
Directly Impacted Groups/Organizations
We have always believed in taking a collaborative approach towards serving local communities. Building partnerships and bridging resources with beneficiary groups such as local NGOs, schools, and Civil Society Organizations have helped us plan, organize and deliver stronger and more relevant service projects across MENA. In the course of the past 7 years, we have joined hands with more than 150 beneficiary groups – most of which we developed long-term partnerships and worked with on multiple occasions.
Every day we interact with millions of customers across MENA. We involve them in our community service agenda through in-store messages, social media, and individual conversations with our store partners (employees), keeping them informed of our community service projects, and inviting them to join us. Since 2008, more than 700 customers from across MENA have volunteered with us as part of the Community Connections Program.
Our Local Suppliers
Across MENA, we work with more than 300 local suppliers and business partners. We believe that our relationship with those suppliers transcends commercial success, to benefit the local communities we mutually serve. Involving our suppliers allows us to bridge resources with them and maximize the value that is being generated by our service projects; be it through sourcing more volunteers from their respective organizations to lend a helping hand on the ground, or sourcing products and services that allows our service projects become bigger and more efficient. Throughout the program, more than 30 local suppliers have lent a helping hand for community service.
We have always believed that public-private sector partnerships are fundamental to unlocking successful and sustainable community development. Therefore, whenever we put a community project plan in place, we have always made sure that the concerned local authorities are informed and are made aware of what we are trying to achieve, and are also invited to guide our projects to make sure they serve the best interest of the local community.
For more information about this program and other Community Service programs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org