Hi everyone --
Since the very first mortgage foreclosure blog post appeared on BlogHer.com in February 2008, I've been watching women in social media worry about the economy -- about friends and family among the 9.1 percent of Americans out of work, about markets globally. Susan of On the Edge recently channeled many of your blogs:
"... Why should ANYBODY be forced to accept the idea that being out of work for two years -- hey, how about almost FOUR years -- be considered the "new normal," to use yet another hackneyed phrase? These and other related issues need to be front and center at all times because this affects everybody not in the top one percent or one tenth of one percent."
We can make a difference as a community of bloggers and social media influencers: The BlogHer team is proud to partner with the folks at Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network to get the word out about CreateJobsforUSA.org, launching officially on November 1st. They've developed a program that's about walk, not talk, when it comes to getting Americans back to work, and we are putting our full support behind the program. (Note: While we are proud that Starbucks has sponsored BlogHer multiple times, all BlogHer support of this program is donated pro bono.)
What is this all about? You can hear it from Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz yourself this Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. PT/ 2p.m. ET -- you are invited to join a conference call between the BlogHer community, Howard and the Starbucks team for a 15-minute Q&A to talk about createjobsforusa.org and answer your questions. I'll host and ask 2-3 questions from the community -- please add your question in the comments below or link to a post where you ask one so that I can credit you for your question on the call.
Update 11/3: To listen to the audio transcript of the conference call between BlogHer's Lisa Stone and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz discussing the initiative and answer questions from women who blog, please use this audio player -- and thanks, everyone, who asked a question and called in!
In a nutshell, Starbucks is donating five million dollars to seed a fund at the Opportunity Finance Network for capital grants to local lenders who fund small businesses that make a difference. Businesses like Zonia Torres's overnight day care in San Francisco and like Nicholas Kujawa's housing units and fresh local market in Butte, Montana -- these are my favorite examples as a former single mom who had to figure out how to work nights occasionally, and as a Montanan who watched the towns of Butte and Anaconda suffer when local mines declined. But you can see many more examples here.
This challenging economy has affected all of us, but perhaps most profoundly, it has created a difficult climate for small, local businesses to gain access to the funds they need to grow, create jobs and hire. I may be talking about you specifically: If you are a BlogHer Publishing Network member, your site is a small business in the best sense -- a labor of love that brings revenue and opportunity. We know that many of the women -- and men! -- in the BlogHer community own brick-and-mortar small businesses and other online businesses as well, or have a Big Idea that is lacking only funding to get off the ground.
Here's what I'm asking you to consider:
* Join the conference call! Starbucks, led by Howard Schultz, is one of America's most successful small businesses. I urge you to hear him talk about why he thinks we can move the needle with this program.
Update 11/3: To listen to the audio transcript of the conference call between BlogHer and Starbucks discussing the initiative, please listen using the audio player:
* Share your story on your blog and link to createjobsforusa.org. How has the economy affected you or your town? Do you know someone who cannot get a job or start a business? Are you worried about unemployment? NOTE: BlogHer will donate $5 on behalf of each of the first 2,000 posts on this topic. If you blog it, please enter your link in the comments on my post of this newsletter. Below my signature, I've provided some badges and code for your posts and sidebars.
* Donate. Beginning November 1st, you may donate to this fund through thecreatejobsforusa.org website, or at Starbucks, and 100% of your donation will go directly to the fund. Donors who contribute $5 or more will receive a red, white and blue wristband with the message “Indivisible.” The really cool thing about this is that every $5 donation will result in $35 in financing to support community businesses, because the local lenders will issue $30 in financing, on average, for each $5 donation -- every $3,000 in donations creates or saves a job. You can read all about it on the Web site.
As entrepreneurs and small business people - and as women and men who have been affected by the economic downturn, we want to hear how this economy has affected you, your family, your business and your community. We want to hear how you're activating your personal and professional networks, and we'd love for you to share this initiative with your readers, and encourage them to donate and spread the word as well. Thanks for joining us.
for Elisa, Jory and Lisa
P.S. Much more information is available on createjobsforusa.org, including a FAQ that goes into more detail about the plans for this new fund, and how small businesses can apply for small business loans, community center financing, housing project financing and/or microfinance from lenders.
P.P.S. Here are three badges available for your blog posts and/or sidebars (click on the link to see the image):
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