coffee and pencil sketch non profit on paperI love Starbucks. Can’t think of a better way to start the day, and it’s often the fuel for creative ideas, or a burst of extra brain power.

Great company. They do a lot of good work with social causes, and have shown a commitment to make a difference wherever they do business.

But let’s face it… the share price isn’t rising in a way it once did, as growth becomes more challenging in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Howard’s working on another somewhat related project for high-end coffee stores, and Starbucks still has its critics.

So how about blowing it all up, and reinventing the company as a non-profit?

The company has global reach, especially when factoring in supply chain; an army of loyal customers and employees, many of whom would jump at the chance of supporting positive change in the world; and a street presence that is highly visible globally. So why not use cash in the bank and funds held overseas to take the company private, give shareholders one final payout; and convert to a non-profit. The new non-profit would donate 95% of its profit to worthy causes in every country it does business, and/or donate the funds to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (a la Warren Buffett), and retain the other 5% of profits to drive future growth.

Already generous employee benefits could extend to a free ride through university or college; two free flights anywhere in the world for every five years of service—funded by points from the corporate Chase Sapphire card; and paid volunteer time.

The culture change would likely be an instant case study for universities, and Starbucks could go down in history, for all the right reasons. So how about it, Howard?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this idea. Drop me a line!

—David Sly, President