Last month, I met with the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) delegation at the Mercy Corps headquarters in Portland, OR. ACYF reaches more than 300 million young people in China, through over fifty Chinese youth organizations. Mercy Corps is a respected international development NGO Starbucks has collaborated with for 10 years to support tea communities in Assam and Darjeeling, India.
One key way Mercy Corps creates sustainable change in communities is through innovation. Since 2009, Mercy Corps has worked with ACYF to develop the Social Innovator Leadership Program, which exposes an annual delegation of leaders to creative approaches for addressing social needs. The delegation includes leaders from youth agencies, government, state-run industry and private enterprise. Over the years, the delegation has learned how communities balance economic development with social and environmental impact, ranging from energy conservation to youth leadership programs.
This year, the delegation was focused on international development, learning how developed countries provide expertise and resources to support developing nations. Along with colleagues from Intel and Nike Foundations, we discussed why and how companies support communities around the world. I shared Starbucks approach to supporting coffee and tea farming communities, as the health of those communities is directly tied to our ability to provide premium coffee to our customers.
Mercy Corps and ACYF’s focus on the impact of social innovation on communities and young people aligns well with Starbucks mission of helping communities thrive. We have been participating in this annual program since its inception and it is a privilege to be able to share Starbucks mission and practices with the leaders from China. My experience was a reminder that my work at Starbucks provides great opportunities to share and learn from amazing individuals and organizations around the world. The rich expertise and perspectives helps us develop approaches that are relevant and impactful.