Recently, two interesting news articles crossed our desk, one from Kansas City and one from St. Louis with a common thread—coffee.
The first was celebrating the one-year anniversary of Starbucks in Ferguson. Starbucks committed to investing in the community following the Michael Brown tragedy in 2014, and is one of 41 new business that include cafes, clothing retailers and a bank that have invested in the city since May 2016.
And unlike other stores, the Ferguson Starbucks includes an on-site training center and an additional hub that is used for eating, events, and conversations that bring the community together.
Starbucks and other programs such as one run by the Urban League are creating pathways of opportunities for employment in a once underserved community that was in the news around the globe. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III called Starbucks “a tremendous corporate citizen” that had helped spur economic development and create jobs.
The second piece of caffeinated news was across the state in Kansas City. Or at least it started there. 1 Million Cups was an idea born at the Kauffman Foundation in KC based on the idea that communities are created over a million cups of coffee. Now in its fifth year in KC, these weekly community gatherings have spread to 115 cities across America.
According to the Kansas City Star, the idea was to create weekly local gatherings of people who are starting or growing young businesses, to connect them with business advisers, to expose them to financiers, and to exchange ideas with others who’ve been in their shoes or even the simply curious. Today, 3,500 people a week take place in events around the country.