How the Schultz Family Foundation Backs Young People and Veterans

Original Story by Inside Philanthropy

IP Funder Spotlights provide quick rundowns of the grantmakers that are on our radar, including a few key details on how they operate and what they’re up to right now. Today, we look at the Schultz Family Foundation and how it’s fostering opportunity for youth and veterans.

What this funder cares about

Founded in 1996, the Schultz Family Foundation seeks to create greater opportunity, accessible to all. The foundation focuses on two populations it believes has enormous promise: the 4.6 million U.S. youth and young adults between 16 and 24 who are out of school and out of work, and the 3.8 million post-9/11 veterans and approximately 250,000 service members who transition from active, National Guard or reserve duty to civilian life each year.

The foundation works across three focus areas. Its Young Adults program advances opportunities for young people, particularly Black and Indigenous people and other marginalized communities. Its Veterans program focuses on training support, career guidance and other ways to help veterans transition into civilian life and maximize their skills. Its COVID Response program focuses on helping those most impacted during the pandemic by addressing food insecurity, housing instability and other issues. Disaster and humanitarian work has long been part of the foundation’s portfolio.

Why you should care

The foundation has been a steady supporter of veterans, working in this area for close to a decade. In partnership with the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, the foundation’s Onward to Opportunity initiative provides a free, on-base training and hiring program for active service members, veterans and military spouses. The Schultzes have pumped millions into this program, and the effort has trained more than 15,000 veterans. A centerpiece of the foundation’s Young Adults program is its 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which provides work readiness skills and connects employers with the employees they need.

During the pandemic, the foundation partnered with Serve Washington to launch an initiative called WA COVID Response Corps to address food insecurity issues and create meaningful service opportunities for youth.

Where the money comes from

Howard and Shari Schultz co-founded the Schultz Family Foundation in 1996. Early in his career, Howard Schultz worked in sales and marketing with Xerox Corporation and was vice president and general manager of Hammarplast U.S.A., a Swedish housewares company. He went on to become the CEO of Starbucks, holding the position from 1986 to 2000, and then again from 2008 to 2017.

Schultz retired from the company in 2018, but rejoined Starbucks as interim chief executive officer and a member of the company’s board of directors in the spring of 2022. He also once co-owned the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

Where the money goes

In fiscal year 2020, the foundation held nearly $225 million in assets and gave away around $14.6 million. The majority of Schultz Family Foundation grants fall in the $3,000 to $30,000 range. Recent grantees have included Seattle University, United Way of King County, Bunker Labs, VetsJobs.com, American Jewish Committee and Mercy Ships.

Open door or barbed wire?

The Schultz Family Foundation has an accessible website, but is not accepting unsolicited inquiries for any of its current initiatives or programs. It is open to general inquiries via info@schultzfamilyfoundation.org.

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