Developing Future Civic Leaders, One Neighborhood at a Time

May 13, 2019

Points of Light was founded on the simple yet profound belief that individuals play an important role in solving community challenges, and that the innovation and dedication of ordinary citizens can accomplish extraordinary things. Starbucks has a similar commitment, reflected in its mission statement: “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

Through a grant from the Starbucks Foundation, Points of Light created a groundbreaking program inspired by national service that provides Starbucks retail employees an opportunity to lend their hearts, hands and minds to local organizations that leverage volunteers to meet their mission. The Starbucks Service Fellows Program invests in local nonprofits through the power of human capital, serving as an amazing example of the power of public-private partnerships, and the importance of elevating and investing in service.

HandsOn Miami Service Fellow
HandsOn Miami Service Fellow Cindy Ariza dedicated her time to recruiting and training community emergency response teams in Miami.

Points of Light’s commitment to leveraging service as a solution for organizational and community needs is based on the belief that cross-sector partnerships are a critical element of effectively informing and impacting social and community issues. Our partnership with Starbucks is an innovative approach to strengthening networks and nonprofits that complements other products and services in our capacity building portfolio. Our shared commitment to volunteerism and impactful community engagement served as inspiration for the initial vision for this program, which was to create a revolutionary model of catalytic citizenship.

For six months, Points of Light and 13 members of our Points of Light Global Network engaged 36 Starbucks Retail Partners (part-time employees) as Service Fellows, providing them with a robust experience that included civic education, community engagement and sector building. This pilot program provided Points of Light, our Global Network members and Starbucks a rare opportunity to co-create an experience that was responsive to the needs of networks and nonprofits while simultaneously developing future civic leaders.

Fellows not only made a difference in their communities, collectively providing more than 17,000 hours of volunteer service, but inspired others to do the same. This partnership will continue to drive catalytic changes to the existing volunteer infrastructure, while also significantly enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations to effectively engage volunteers and fellows within their workforce. We look forward to leveraging the lessons learned and impact achieved to explore future phases of the program.

Shannon Galford and Chicago Cares Service Fellows
Shannon Galford, Starbucks global responsibility program manager (right), with Chicago Cares Service Fellows Zoe Pace and Vanessa Higueros.

Read stories from Points of Light Global Network members that hosted Starbucks Service Fellows during the pilot program:

Alison Doerfler is the senior vice president of capacity building at Points of Light.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.