Schultz Family Foundation Launches $1 Million National Service Challenge to Support National Service as a Pathway of Opportunity for Young People

Schultz Family Foundation
May 27, 2021

SEATTLE, WA (May 27, 2021) – The Schultz Family Foundation, founded by former Starbucks ceo and chairman emeritus Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri Schultz, today announced the launch of the $1 Million National Service Challenge to support national service as a pathway of opportunity for all young people. Recognizing the role of philanthropy as an innovation partner to the public sector, the Foundation will offer matching grants of $100,000 to $250,000 to AmeriCorps state service commissions who are partnering with philanthropy to fuel new or existing programs that increase the number and diversity of young people participating in AmeriCorps, strengthen the value proposition of a year of service for them, and provide them with support and mentorship during and after their service.

While people of all backgrounds—regardless of race and ethnicity or gender—reported an increase in unemployment rates last year, BIPOC youth experienced higher unemployment rates and a slower recovery, according to Mathematica. The Center for Promise reported among unemployed youth, three in four stated that COVID-19 has made their job search more difficult and nearly one in three reported having stopped their job search.

The Challenge builds upon the Foundation’s learnings and impact over the past year in developing the Washington COVID Response Corps, a first-of-its-kind youth service program created in partnership with Serve Washington to respond to record levels of community need resulting from the COVID-19 crisis while expanding meaningful opportunities to young people whose lives were disrupted by the pandemic.

“The devastating effects of COVID-19 will, unfortunately, continue well past this year, and recovery will take a while,” said Tyra A. Mariani, president of the Schultz Family Foundation. “We also recognize this is a unique moment for national service—both because of the need before us and the opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience while serving in hard-hit communities. We look forward to building on this momentum and encouraging new and existing partners to participate in the $1 Million National Service Challenge.”

To be eligible for the 1:1 match, a state service commission must have a letter of commitment from a participating private foundation, community foundation, or individual donor for an amount equal to or more than the amount of its requested match. Philanthropic dollars can come from more than one source.

“We commend the Schultz Family Foundation for its visionary creation of the National Service Challenge to invest in making AmeriCorps and national service as accessible and appealing as possible to a diverse range of people, organizations, and communities,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “This $1 million infusion will assist state service commissions across the country in working with programs to focus on equity and diversity, meet critical post-pandemic needs, develop high quality service opportunities that provide necessary support to members, and build off of the impressive example that the Foundation has set through its innovative partnership with Serve Washington in launching the Washington COVID Response Corps this past year.”

“As we strive to make national service part of growing up for every young person in America, we should aim to replicate and scale national service programs like the Washington COVID Response Corps in communities across the country,” said Jesse Colvin, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “This innovative public-private model is key to helping local communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic while also putting young people — including young people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the economic consequences of the pandemic — on a pathway to jobs in high-need sectors. We are excited to see the Schultz Family Foundation’s $1 Million National Service Challenge come to life in a way that not only expands and creates new and existing national service programs, but also plays a critical role in reimagining national service so that the opportunity to serve is accessible to all young people in America.”

Earlier this month, the Foundation, America’s Service Commissions, and Service Year Alliance hosted a virtual roundtable discussion, that brought together AmeriCorps state service commissions and philanthropies to highlight innovative AmeriCorps programs that have been invaluable to addressing the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs, many of which have been supported through partnerships with philanthropy, illustrate how national service is and will continue to play a critical role in the nation’s ongoing recovery, buoyed by an additional $1 billion investment in AmeriCorps as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Foundation president, Tyra A. Mariani, recently penned an op-ed in The Chronicle of Philanthropy highlighting the power of national service and public-private partnerships to respond to community needs in a crisis and encouraging other philanthropic organizations to invest in national service opportunities.

Application, submission instructions, and FAQs are available at:

All applications and supporting documentation must be emailed to by 11:59 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 15, 2021.


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