YouthBuild students inside a home they are renovating. Photo by Akintola Hanif for Starbucks.

How a former addict pays it forward with a tool belt

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

The first time Hassan Foster stole a car, he drove off without any beginner’s luck. As he parked the vehicle on a Newark street, a police officer happened by, noticed his nervousness, and asked to see his driver’s license. A few minutes later, Foster was in handcuffs.

Had he stolen the car a week earlier, before his 18th birthday Foster likely would have received a slap on the wrist. But in the eyes of the law, he was a juvenile no longer, so he wound up in the Essex County jail. The two months…


Grant Nelson and Maria Rose Belding work on the Means Database. Photo by Gabe Silverman for Starbucks.

An innovative app helps to reduce food waste and end hunger

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

After a rainstorm washed out attendance at a church event in the Washington, D.C., suburbs last year, Tierney Screen found herself in a room filled with unclaimed paper lunch bags, each containing a sandwich, fruit, chips, and cookies.

Had there been a few dozen extra lunches, she could have handed them out to families she knew personally who needed them. But there were 3,600 — far more than she could distribute herself.

The thought of having to toss them in the garbage pained her. Then she remembered an enthusiastic student she had met at…


An employee directs a driver at the Rising Tide car wash. Photo by Thomas Shomaker for Starbucks.

How employees with autism are helping one business thrive

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

When Andrew D’Eri, a silent, withdrawn toddler, was diagnosed with autism, his father, John, was confused.

“What is autism?” he asked the family doctor.

His befuddlement about his two-and-a-half-year-old boy’s condition soon turned to denial: It can’t be my son, he thought. This isn’t happening.

That gave way to the hope for change: He’s going to grow out of this. Or for a cure: We’ll find a miracle.

By the time Andrew was a teenager, John had grown to accept that “Andrew is who Andrew is,” but he began to worry about what would…


Destiny Watford near the site of the planned incinerator in her neighborhood. Photo by Gabe Silverman for Starbucks.

The high school students who battled a giant incinerator — and won

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Four years ago, when Destiny Watford was a high school senior, she learned that the nation’s largest trash incinerator was going to be built less than a mile from her school and the house where she lived with her family. The facility, to be erected on a 90-acre tract in her Baltimore neighborhood of Curtis Bay, had the enthusiastic support of state and local political leaders, who touted it as a job-creating, green-power initiative.

Watford, a shy, hard-working student, hadn’t thought much about environmentalism. But a facility that would burn gargantuan piles of garbage…


Susan Burton and Tami L. Warren, a former judicial candidate for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, hug at the Long Beach Justice Resource Fair aimed to help formerly incarcerated people. Photo by Jessey Dearing for Starbucks.

A former inmate’s quest to keep ex-convicts from returning to prison

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

As Susan Burton stood in line to board the bus that would take her back to Los Angeles after her sixth stint behind bars, a guard recognized her. “We’ll see you back here soon,” he chided. “We’ll have a bed waiting for you.”

A sense of dread settled on Burton. She had spent part of two decades in the custody of the California state prison system. …


David Vobora provides resistance as U.S. Army veteran Kevin Trimble attempts to flip a 200-pound tire. Photo by Joshua Trujillo/Starbucks.

When these wounded vets work out, get ready to be humbled

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Brian Aft was rolling his wheelchair through a strip-mall parking lot in Dallas with a Styrofoam cup of juice perched on his lap when a pickup truck screeched to a stop in front of him. Out bounded a tall, muscled man with shoulder-length hair.

“Hey there!” he shouted.

Aft figured he was about to get robbed.

It would have been yet another bad turn in his life since stepping on a Taliban bomb buried in an embankment in Afghanistan in 2011 during a tour with the Marines. He had lost both of his legs…


Recruits participate in a drill where they practice deescalation and working with a person in crisis. Photo by Mike Kane for Starbucks.

One state is revolutionizing the way cops are trained

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

During Susan Rahr’s seven-year stint as sheriff of King County, Washington, she reviewed scores of internal affairs investigations. The ones involving allegations of an excessive use of force attracted her closest scrutiny, and led her to pose her own questions to the deputies involved.

“Why did you use force so quickly?”

“Why didn’t you try another way of defusing the situation?”

The deputies’ answers often reflected an approach that has long been in vogue with cops called “Ask. Tell. Make.”

“You would ask someone to do something. If they didn’t do it, you would…


Lloyd Pendleton and Kay Luther visit Grace Mary Manor, an apartment complex for formerly homeless people. Photo by Jessey Dearing for Starbucks.

Utah reduced chronic homelessness by 91 percent with a simple idea

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

There were times, a decade ago, when the Road Home, the largest homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, was so full that families trying to bring their children in from the streets for the night would be turned away.

“Heartbreaking,” is how Matt Minkevitch, the Road Home’s executive director, remembers it. He had spent nearly three decades helping the less fortunate, and was on the hunt for fresh solutions to the intractable problems he saw.

Minkevitch figured he could accommodate the overflow if he could find another place for his longest-term residents — the…


Baldwin High School’s college-bound Class of 2016. Photo by Brittney Lohmiller for Starbucks.

College wasn’t in the cards for these high-school graduates — until residents did something remarkable

By Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Makayla George went on her first college tour when she was in the eighth grade. She took the requisite entrance tests on time. And in the fall of 2015, when she was a senior in high school, she applied to 13 colleges.

She got into all of them.

Then she spent weeks agonizing over which one to choose.

George, a bubbly, curly-haired sports fanatic, revealed her choice on “Decision Day,” a school-wide assembly in May during which seniors stand up, walk onto a stage, and announce the college they will be attending.

Clad in…


Members of the Memphis Islamic Center pray at Heartsong Church while their mosque is under construction in August 23, 2010. Photo by Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal.

When a local Muslim community purchased a plot of land opposite a church, they expected hostility

by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

As the morning sun illuminated his kitchen, Steve Stone poured himself a cup of coffee and picked up the local newspaper. Reading it gave him a chance to cool off after riding his bike, and the articles usually provided him with a thought or two to incorporate into the sermon he would deliver later that Sunday morning at Heartsong Church, the United Methodist congregation he had started 19 years ago in Cordova, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis.

Stone’s eyes settled on a headline at the bottom of the front page: Muslims buy land for…

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