Need an extra boost of inspiration? Starbucks is at your service.
Just in time for Giving Tuesday, the Starbucks Foundation announced the 27 winners of its “Upstanders” challenge, awarding $25,000 grants to nonprofits nominated by advocates through the Indi video sharing platform.
The goal of the contest was to give recognition and support to difference-makers who may be flying under the radar, with judging based on inspiration, community impact and the quality of video submissions. Twenty-three total runners-up will also receive a surprise $2,500 grant.
Upstanders Among Us
The winning organizations are located across the U.S., from big cities like San Francisco and New York to smaller communities such as Stoneham, MA and Schertz, TX. Each entity’s mission is equally diverse, whether it’s the Scottsdale group supplying essential needs to foster kids in the area, or the Brooklyn-based nonprofit training refugees in the culinary arts, or the Lynnwood, WA rehabilitation center for injured wildlife.
Here’s a more detailed look at three of the grant winners:
- 4 Paws For Ability: An Ohio-based organization that, since 1998, has trained service dogs and placed them with children with disabilities (such as deafness, seizures or mobility issues), while also working with military veterans who have lost limbs or hearing in active combat. The group says they will put the prize money toward building a puppy socialization room, where ramps and elevator simulators can help the pups (labs, golden retrievers and standard poodles) prep for a life of service.
- Cities at Peace (aka “The Possibility Project”): A New York charity (founded in 2001) that uses the performing arts as an entry point to reach at-risk youth and positive community reinforcement to transform their lives. The program brings in 150 teens from the New York City area to collaborate on a musical based on their own life stories and performed off Broadway. Ninety-nine percent of participants have gone on to graduate high school or have obtained a high school equivalency; 92 percent have continued on to college. With the money earned from the contest, “We will have a bigger, better theater,” founder Paul Griffin said. “We will be able to pay for artists’ time — a musical director, an artistic director, a choreographer and an assistant director — and more of it.”
- When I Grow Up. This global nonprofit seeks to lift children out of extreme poverty, making an impact in places such as Guatemala, Haiti and Kenya. One partnership provides education for 500 children living in a Kenyan slum and goes beyond the classroom with efforts involving healthcare, food and clean water. The organization will use the $25,000 to help build permanent dormitories for high school students educated outside of Nairobi. “We have never gotten this type of grant before so it’s very exciting,” said Carrie Taves, operations manager. “It’s going to change destinies and literally save lives.”
The contest coincided with the second season of “Upstanders,” a series of 11 short films that highlight regular citizens making a difference in their communities and the world at large, from a former chef opening a restaurant staffed exclusively by former juvenile detention inmates to a Montana mother convincing her skeptical neighbors to welcome in refugees. (Season One, released in 2016, reached more than 60 million people, according to Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz.)
You can find the “Upstanders” series on Amazon Prime Video and Facebook’s Watch platform (there’s also an Audible version narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan), with the challenge videos at Indi.com/starbucks.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for feature stories highlighting some of the winning organizations on Giving Compass.
Learn more about the Starbucks Foundation Upstanders Challenge winners.
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