TORONTO — Starbucks Canada announced it will invest in the future of Canada’s Black Youth, based on input from its Black Partner Network, Black community leaders and important allies, creating a mentorship program together with the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) and the Canadian Mentoring Partnership (CMP).
“This is a pivotal time in our history,” says Lori Digulla, general manager, Starbucks Canada. “We will take a stand and not move on until we’ve done what we can to influence meaningful change for our Black partners, customers and the Black community.”
Mentoring is one of four supports the BBPA offers to improve the post-secondary graduation rates of Black youth. With Starbucks investment of $100,000, the BBPA will be able to expand its mentorship program, supported by the mentorship expertise, tools and resources of the CMP and make it accessible to 1,000 youth across the country.
“Education is an important asset for the future of Black youth. With 50 per cent of Black youth who go into post-secondary studies not graduating, the support of a strong mentorship program is critical,” says Nadine Spencer, president & CEO, BBPA. “We’re pleased our new partnership with Starbucks will support our mentorship program, as it will have a sustainable impact on the success of our youth. The additional support and resources of the CMP will ensure further success.”
“To access employment opportunities in the post-pandemic economy, we understand youth in Canada — especially Black youth and those facing barriers — will have an even greater need to connect with mentors who can help them engage with prospective employers and the Canadian labour market,” says Stacey Dakin, managing director, CMP. She adds that through quality mentoring opportunities, the CMP is working to help youth develop an understanding of the practical job skills required to meet labour-market demands and learn how to access opportunities aligned to their academic, career and life goals.
Through its partnership with BBPA, Starbucks will also unlock the potential for employees across Canada to get involved through community service.
The program will launch first in Montreal this summer, followed by Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton and will expand to other cities later this year.
This initiative is part of Starbucks’ pledge to do more in its commitment to stand and act against anti-Black racism. On May 29, the company closed locations in Canada and the U.S. for four hours so employees could come together for a conversation and learning session on racial bias. And, in late June, the company also announced it would pause advertising on social-media platforms in an effort to stop the spread of hate speech.