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Schultz Family Foundation donates $7.5M to SU’s IVMF to expand veteran career-preparation program

By Eric Reinhardt


Howard Schultz, center, and wife, Shari, co-founders of the Seattle, Washington–based Schultz Family Foundation, have announced a $7.5 million donation that Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) will use to expand Onward to Opportunity, a program that helps veterans prepare for employment after their military service. In this photo, the Schultzes are pictured at a family forum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families website)


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The family foundation of the retired CEO of Starbucks has donated more than $7 million to Syracuse University so it can expand a program that helps veterans prepare for employment once they transition from the military service.

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) will use a $7.5 million donation from the Schultz Family Foundation to expand the program called Onward to Opportunity (O2O), Syracuse said in a news release.

Howard Schultz and wife, Sheri, co-founded the Seattle, Washington–based Schultz Family Foundation in 1996, per the organization’s website. Howard Schultz last June retired from Starbucks and assumed the role of chairman emeritus.

The grant will enable O2O to “expand its reach and impact,” and ensure transitioning service members around the world have access to job training “up to six months before they take off their uniform and have their next job lined up when they return home.”

The program already has connected 11,000 veterans and spouses with careers, and projects an additional 4,000 to 4,500 hires per year moving forward.

Each year, about 250,000 veterans and their families transition from the military to civilian life.

“Our goal at the Schultz Family Foundation is to support these men and women who have worn the cloth of the nation as they transition into civilian life,” Schultz said in the Syracuse release. “Onward to Opportunity is a win-win. The program allows our volunteer service members to be recognized for their knowledge, talent and experience when they return home, and it connects employers to one of the country’s deepest pools of workforce-ready talent. We are proud to continue to partner with the IVMF, the U.S. Department of Defense, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other leading private-sector partners to ensure our veterans and their families make a smooth transition and achieve the same security at home that they made possible for the rest of us through their service.”

The grant announcement coincides with the release of “A Case for Patient Philanthropy: Supporting Jobs and Careers for Military-Connected Americans,” which details the “rationale and impact” of the O2O program.

Funded through a grant from the Schultz Family Foundation, the white paper details the costs and consequences associated with a “failed or sub-optimal” employment transition for the service member, his or her family, and society, the Syracuse release said.

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