Schultz Family Foundation

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Empowered by Potential

Motivated by the desire to impact a generation of young people and dedicated to inspiring civic responsibility.

Since 2000, the Schultz Family Foundation has partnered with and funded organizations that unlock potential in populations facing temporary barriers to success. We chose this focus because tangible, achievable actions can have a measurable impact on these individuals, their families, and on their wider communities. We believe that the right intervention with the right person at the right time—be it training, support, funding or access to care—can achieve big results. And that our communities and our country will benefit from their contributions.

After significant research, we’ve identified two populations for our initial focus: Post 9/11 Veterans and Opportunity Youth. What do these groups have in common? Both are at a crucial inflection point, a time in their lives when a meaningful intervention can have a big impact. And both groups have demonstrated strong resilience, tenacity, and ambition. They are, as a whole, highly motivated to succeed and we believe they will be the leaders and catalyst for this next Greatest Generation.

We are launching two initiatives: Onward Veterans and Onward Youth. To us, the term “Onward” is more than just a rally cry or an attitude; it implies optimism with eyes wide open and a never ending journey that honors the past while reinventing the future. Our foundation’s evolution continues to be an educational and humbling journey.

Onward. . .

– Howard and Sheri Schultz


Returning Veterans

There are more than 2.6 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans today. As our country's longest wars wind down, a million more young men and women who have fought for our country are expected to return home.

While many will face barriers to successful re-entry — limited economic opportunity, health issues, and the unique challenges of returning home – they also return equipped with skills and talents that can strengthen our businesses, our communities and our country.

We must ensure that their welcome home doesn’t stop at the door. Transition out of the military is not an event, it is a process; one that needs to recognize the unique contributions these families have made.

So, while their service is ending our responsibility is just beginning.

The Schultz Family Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing commitment and an epidemic of understanding in the form of civic movement across the country. Understanding means bridging the empathy gap between civilians and veterans. The civilian-military divide is real. A recent Washington Post-Kaiser Foundation study found that over two-thirds of veterans say the average American doesn’t understand their experience, and more than half say they feel disconnected from civilian life.

The foundation’s priorities:

Wellness: Invest in Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research and alternative treatments to ensure better understanding and readily-available solutions. In concert with this we are going to work to eliminate the stigma and discrimination associated with both PTS and TBI.

Economic opportunity: Develop specialized employment training and job placement programs that will provide vets with the training and services they need to get their first civilian job, and put them on a path to successful careers.

Strengthening families: Create comprehensive transition programs for veterans and their families. These programs will provide assistance in accessing benefits, postsecondary education, job training and placement for spouses, and re-entry into the labor force.

If a few years go by and we look back at this time and we’ve allowed these young men and women to fall in between the cracks and not become part of our society in a positive way, then this country, in a sense, will have lost its conscience.

– Howard Schultz

Veteran Approved

Consider This

Each day, 540 Service members transition out of the military.

Thirty percent of veterans who have served and returned since 9/11 suffer from post-traumatic stress; 25% have experienced a traumatic brain injury.

22 veterans commit suicide each day.

Unemployment among post-9/11 veterans is 12.1%, almost double the national average.

There are roughly 10,000 homeless Post-9/11 veterans.


Opportunity Youth

There are 6.7 million young adults who are not in school and not working. Because of their untapped potential, they are sometimes called “Opportunity Youth.”

One of our country’s greatest challenges is providing these young people with the necessary training, education and support they need to become productive participants in the workforce and contributing members of their communities.

The current unemployment rate for this population is more than double that of the national rate in the US. Left unaddressed, too many will be left out of our economy and poverty will continue to be an intergenerational issue.

We seek to harness these resources and address the barriers these youth face.

Regional Strategy: Build muscle and capacity within WA State to serve as an exemplar system of care for opportunity youth. We partner with best practice organizations to develop systemic solutions for some of our highest-risk populations, including those that are homeless or exiting the foster care system.

National Strategy: There is a national demand for a well-trained young adult work force. Many businesses are facing a skills gap and employers are positioned to hire and cultivate well-trained workers. Employing these young adults offers the potential for an infusion of leadership and productivity in our workforce. And they are eager to accept this responsibility.

Recognizing both a shared interest and the collective capacity to tackle this compelling issue, the Schultz Family Foundation has partnered with the Starbucks Foundation and YouthBuild USA to establish a National Customer Service Training Program. This program provides participants with the tools needed to achieve success in work and in life—training for marketable jobs, customized educational opportunities, life skills, and wrap-around support services.

The program began early this year at pilot sites including: YouthCare in Seattle, Washington; CLIMB in Gulfport, Mississippi; and Abyssinian Development Corporation in East Harlem, New York. At the completion of the one-year program, graduates will have the skills to excel in any customer service job, and be well-positioned on an educational pathway that will help them meet their personal and professional goals.

Our mission is to identify and empower young people whose fate can have a ripple effect on our communities and our nation as a whole.

– Sheri Schultz