Starbucks has been fueling countless commutes, endless study sessions, hectic post-work-get-the-kids-to-practice-and-make-dinner days, and flirty first dates in Canada since 1987. But the masters of the macchiato are also fueling change in their communities. 

An Extra Shot of Social Change

Giving back is the Starbucks way. They are more than coffee (and the bacon & gouda breakfast sandwich… never forget the bacon & gouda breakfast sandwich). This corporation with a heart strives to make a difference in the local communities they serve. “We have always believed Starbucks can – and should – have a positive social impact on the communities we serve. One person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time” says Keshia Ali, Project Specialist in Social Impact & Public Policy. 

The conversation began when Starbucks partners (that’s what they call their employees) indicated that they wanted to do more to support charities in their neighbourhoods. 

Every day these partners see, and serve, folks impacted by homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, and other pressing social issues. Store by store, they were individually taking action. At one location, for example, a customer frequented the cafe, grabbing a seat in the evenings and drinking a few glasses of water; staff started to build a relationship with her. On the way to work one day, the store manager stopped at the ATM and saw this same woman sleeping in the vestibule of the bank.

The manager couldn’t just walk away and struck up a conversation, asking how they could help. The customer was open and honest about her story. It’s a heartbreaking one. She lost her home, she lost her family, she lost nearly everything. The local Starbucks team responded; they purchased gift cards and other essential items so she could get ready for job interviews and take the first steps towards getting back some of what she lost. 

Starbucks partners across the country have similar stories and know the impact of kindness and teamwork. They’d seen first hand that small steps can lead to big changes. Now they wanted to do more, get more people involved, and make a bigger difference in their communities and communities like theirs across the country. They shared this need and Starbucks responded – in a big, CNOY way.

A New Partnership with Peer-to-Peer Event Coldest Night of the Year

Starbucks recognized the engagement and passion their partners showed when it comes to giving back, and found a way to grow this organic activity into a company-wide, cross-country initiative. 

Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is a super-fun, family-friendly fundraising walk that supports local charity partners who provide essential care and service for people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. And it’s more than that. 

CNOY is a moment each year when tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of home to shine a light of welcome and compassion in their communities. Remarkably, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised over $43,500,000 in 149 communities across Canada since it began in 2011.

Joining CNOY’s Corporate Challenge has enabled Starbucks teams to:

  • Work Together and Compete to Make a Difference. Partners work together in teams to fundraise for local charities of their choice – as stand alone stores or in coalitions of Starbucks locations. Other Partners compete against their “rivals” up the street, checking the Challenge Board and rallying together to be the most generous Starbucks location in town. 
  • Support Their Communities. With the full support of the national Starbucks brand, these Partners are raising money to serve people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger in their neighbourhoods. Helping those they see and serve on a daily basis makes this fundraising campaign not just fun, but impactful in a real, tangible way. 
  • Create Long-Term Relationships with Local Charities. Through CNOY, Starbucks partners can get behind the causes that matter to them (e.g. youth, homelessness, domestic violence, etc.) and connect to local charities while taking part in a nationwide movement. Oftentimes, Partners use this introduction to build longer-term, year-long relationships with these charities, expanding their impact. 
  • Make a Huge Impact. In the last three years, Starbucks Partners have raised $196,497 for local charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger through CNOY campaigns. Generosity and courage surged amidst the global pandemic, and Starbucks Partners raised over $98,297 in 2021 alone!

Through their participation in the CNOY Corporate Challenge each district, store, and partner has the chance to meaningfully contribute. To give back. To live out the Starbucks way: creating positive social impact on the communities they serve – to inspire and nurture the human spirit.

Grande Results 

Starbucks is known for “so much more than what we brew.” A company with a huge heart, Starbucks is committed to being a positive force in the communities in which they operate. Partnering with CNOY allows them to take the organic passion and activism of their partners and maximize its impact. 

Starbucks’ partners are thirsty for change; they want to make a difference. And they are. Partners have done incredible work for charities in their communities. CNOY offers the perfect pairing with a strong, recognizable national event and a proven program that delivers an easy, seamless way for teams to contribute and expand their impact. 

Can it do the same for your organization? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)