We've bought a couple of these Starbuck's sponsored bracelets in the past week. Each time we chipped in the minimum $5. I'm interested to see how much traction this campaign gets. Howard Schultz has shown himself to be a CEO that wants to change the make-up of how Americans interact and behave. Years ago I worked for his company and recall his (or at least he referenced it) Third Place idea. I like the notion that there can be an environment beyond work and house where everyday social life can occur. (I didn't particularly mind that there's a specific monetarily benefit of driving customers to spend more time within a corporate coffee shop.)
This latest bracelet campaign is akin to raising awareness through a symbolic (the bracelet, not unlike the Live Strong bracelet) item with the notion that everyday Americans can help everyday Americans. Overall, I love the idea of micro-lending and peer-ro-peer lending. In fact we have accounts in both Microplace and LendingClub. In the total picture we don't have much money in these sites, but I like that we do have some money out there helping. Gives us a sense of helping out and getting a higher rate of return on the funds we lend.
The campaign says that for every $5 given by everyday Americans, there is another $35 in waiting, leveraged funds waiting to be given through grants and then through loans. Starbucks fronted at least $5 million to jump start the program. I hope its a good momentum starter to get some sort of micro-business climate going with grass roots job creation. If nothing else, it's at least support Made in USA bracelets.