Sheri Kersch Schultz
Sheri Kersch Schultz co-founded the Schultz Family Foundation in 1996 with her husband, Howard Schultz, chairman emeritus of Starbucks Coffee Company.
Guided by a belief that the right opportunities at the right time can unleash human potential—and that “inequality of opportunity” is stifling America’s own potential, the Foundation invests in innovative solutions and collaborative partnerships that create new pathways to opportunity so disconnected populations can overcome barriers to success.
A passionate volunteer and long-time advocate for at-risk youth, Sheri recognized early in her work shaping the foundation how a fractured system of social supports was failing to reach people who were motivated but unable to escape homelessness or poverty, or simply to improve their lives.
Refusing to accept the status quo, Sheri, Howard, and the Foundation decided to concentrate their efforts on two communities: Opportunity Youth, the 4.6 million 16- to 24-year-olds in the country who are not in school and not working, and America’s 4.2 million Post 9/11 Veterans, heroic individuals whose valuable skills and experience are often misunderstood and undervalued when they return to civilian life.
Under Sheri’s leadership, the Foundation has launched two national initiatives:
A portfolio of programs and investments that put Opportunity Youth on a path towards skills training and employment, and an initiative which helps returning military service members and their families successfully transition into civilian jobs and professional careers. Each program actively engages the business community, bringing together leaders from the private and public sectors, whose collaboration is key to sustaining each program’s success.
Sheri grew up in Lima, Ohio and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Denver.
Recognized for his entrepreneurship and servant leadership, Howard Schultz built Starbucks Coffee Company into one of the world’s most recognized and respected businesses, a company committed to strengthening communities through human connection and social innovation.
Howard grew up in public housing and was the first in his family to graduate college. As a young entrepreneur, he set out to build a different kind of company, one that delivers business excellence through a culture of compassion. Under his leadership, Starbucks delivered approximately 18,000 percent in shareholder returns since its Initial Public Offering in 1992, while pioneering programs like comprehensive healthcare, stock ownership and free college tuition for all eligible employees. Today, Starbucks has 26,000 stores in 75 countries and ranks third on Fortune’s list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.”
Howard’s groundbreaking initiatives have extended employment and educational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of partners (Starbucks employees) as well as people outside the company. In 2014, Howard developed the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP) in alliance with Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow, enabling partners to pursue their college education tuition-free through ASU Online.
For more than three decades Howard has redefined the role and responsibility of a for-profit, public company, proving that a business can exceed expectations by sharing success with its people and the communities it serves.
Howard’s Starbucks journey began in 1981 when he walked into the first Starbucks store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and discovered a local business that was passionate about roasting the highest quality coffee. He moved from his native New York and joined Starbucks in 1982 as Director of Operations and Marketing. At the time, there were only four Starbucks stores.
One year later, on a business trip to Italy, Howard was captivated by the romance of the Italian coffee bar. He returned to Seattle with a vision of bringing the Italian coffeehouse tradition to the United States, creating a unique place for human connection and a sense of community. After leaving Starbucks for a short time to start his own II Giornale coffeehouses, he purchased six Starbucks stores and roasting facilities in 1987 with the help of local investors, beginning a global expansion that would change how the world consumed coffee.
Chairman since 2000, Howard resumed the role of president and chief executive officer in January 2008, with a renewed focus on Starbucks coffee heritage, innovation and enhanced customer experience. On April 3, 2017, Howard transitioned from ceo to executive chairman, shifting his full-time focus to social impact initiatives as well as innovation and global development of Starbucks Reserve® Roasteries and Starbucks Reserve® retail store formats. In June 2018, Howard retired from the company and assumed the role of chairman emeritus.
Along with his wife, Sheri, Howard is co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. He is also the best-selling author of “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice” (2014), “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul” (2011), and “Pour Your Heart Into It” (1997).
Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Michigan University. Before joining Starbucks, he worked three years in sales and marketing with Xerox Corporation and served as Vice President and General Manager of Hammarplast U.S.A. He is co-founder of Maveron LLC, a venture capital group.
Tyra A. Mariani
As president of the foundation, Tyra partners with the Schultz family and Board of Trustees to accelerate the foundation’s work to address inequality by unlocking greater opportunities for individuals and communities facing obstacles to economic and social mobility in America.
Prior to joining the foundation, Tyra served as president & chief operating officer of New America. While there, Tyra partnered with the Board and ceo to transform the organization into a new kind of think tank, one that is committed to exploring new and more effective ways of solving public problems.
Previously, Tyra was appointed chief of staff to the U.S. deputy secretary of education and deputy chief of staff to the U.S. secretary of education under the Obama Administration. In these roles, Tyra helped shape policies and programs impacting education from early learning through college and career. She also led complex interagency and cross-departmental teams that took several Administration priorities from vision to strategy and implementation including the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and RESPECT, an effort to elevate and transform the teaching profession. Tyra was recognized as a key problem-solving partner to the Department’s senior leadership, helping them to overcome bureaucracy and accelerate their work and the agency’s priorities.
Prior to joining the Department of Education, Tyra launched entrepreneurial efforts to develop and support leaders in education as the founder of the Greater New Orleans Region of New Leaders. In this role, she developed and successfully executed a strategy to drive high academic gains in schools led by New Leaders principals in post-Katrina New Orleans. Prior to New Leaders, Tyra served as budget director for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) overseeing the $5 billion budget of the third largest school district in the country. She entered CPS through the Broad Residency in Urban Education. As a Broad Resident, she led efforts that addressed overcrowding and increased the quality of principal candidates within the district. Tyra began her career in the private sector. Her focus on human capital began in Training and Development with Kraft Foods Corporate, where she led efforts to make the company’s training programs more effective and aligned with employees’ developmental needs as well as broader cross-cutting efforts on team development and improving individual efficiency and productivity. Through her years at McKinsey & Company and work across a number of sectors, Tyra has developed a distinctive perspective on individual and organizational performance management and improvement across a broad set of industries and functions ranging from increasing return on invested capital to service productivity in a variety of industries.
Tyra was co-valedictorian and received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in Business Administration from Howard University and a master’s in business from Stanford University.
chief operations officer
Alison oversees Foundation operations and special projects as well as driving organizational efficiencies. In this role, Alison works closely with internal and external stakeholders to ensure Foundation goals and objectives are achieved.
With nearly two decades of experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, Alison brings knowledge of managing teams, designing and building philanthropic and operational funding processes and strategic planning to this position. Before joining the foundation, Alison served as Vice President, Research Operations at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research where she served as a foundation leader driving programmatic funding, organizational culture, grant administration, funding evaluation and strategic management. She also ran grassroots fundraising events and served as a Team Fox mentor. Throughout her career, Alison has also held roles in the corporate sector running the philanthropic giving department at glassybaby LLC, and negotiating national media campaigns for global clients at Zenith Media.
Alison holds a Master’s in Public Administration focused on public and non-profit management from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Tufts University.
director of Foundation Programs
Marie leads the Foundation’s grantmaking that supports reconnecting Opportunity Youth to employment and Post 9/11 Veterans and their families transitioning from military service to civilian life.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Marie was the founding executive director of Get Schooled, a non-profit organization that inspires young Americans to get engaged in their education and connects with them using the tools, motivation and recognition they need to succeed. Get Schooled has engaged with more than five million young people since its launch in fall 2010, and has had a meaningful impact on critical indicators like school attendance and FAFSA completion rates.
Marie also served as a senior program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading its efforts to improve educational outcomes through advocacy and communication work. In that position, she worked closely with media, government and non-profit partners to shine the spotlight on America’s dropout crisis. She also spent five years as a management consultant specializing in strategy development with PwC Consulting, advising public and private sector clients. She began her career as a social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx.
Marie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, a Master’s in Teaching from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and a Master’s of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, she serves on the board of the Student Press Law Center. She previously served on the board of directors of the Education Writer’s Association, a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of education journalism, and is active in her local Boy Scout Troop.
Yeri leads and manages strategic communications to advance the foundation’s mission.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Yeri worked as the sr. director of brand and campaigns at Get Schooled, an award-winning educational non-profit founded in partnership between Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. While there, Yeri oversaw the organization’s brand and visual strategy, managed a portfolio of national campaigns designed to engage and motivate students to graduate high school and succeed in college and career, and fostered partnership opportunities.
Yeri has also served as a communications officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation leading the K-12 education digital communications strategy. In this role, she managed the department’s digital channels, planned and executed large-scale campaigns, and held a portfolio of media grantees around educational policies.
With experience in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors, Yeri is committed to sharing stories, creating connections, and leveraging communication strategies to make a change. Early on in her career, Yeri worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant and has a deep-rooted passion to support vulnerable communities. Yeri sits on the board of the Refugee Women’s Alliance, a local non-profit that provides services to help refugee and immigrant women and families thrive.
Yeri graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts.
senior program officer, Opportunity Youth Initiative
As the Foundation’s first youth-focused program officer, Ellen worked with the executive director and trustees to launch the Foundation’s Opportunity Youth portfolio in 2015. The portfolio focuses on creating opportunities for young people who are out of school and not working. Ellen manages investments that connect these talented young adults to employment and that support them along their journeys.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Ellen worked in a variety of education-focused organizations including Teach For America, the California Charter Schools Association, and ICEF Public Schools. A recovering politico, Ellen was an account executive at GMMB, a political and communications consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where she served a wide range of political and nonprofit clients.
Ellen graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Public Policy. She earned a Masters of Public Administration and Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Southern California.
administrative and grants coordinator
Josh brings a diverse background to his dual role at the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, his career has been in non-profit arts and mission-driven organizations. Josh tends to work behind the scenes, but his experience, passion and competencies are critical to the daily operation of the Foundation. Locally he has worked with Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Village Theatre, ACT Theatre, the Capitol Hill Arts Center (now closed), and The University of Washington, where he held a number of roles from writing, casting and producing to office management.
Before moving to Seattle, Josh lived in New York and worked in a management staff role for The Brooklyn Academy of Music, supporting artists from all over the world who came to the Academy to present their work. He then joined On-Ramps, a recruiting firm that finds leaders for key mission-driven organizations in the U.S.
In addition to his Foundation role, Josh is an award-winning playwright and accomplished screenwriter with a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from The New School for Drama.