Starbucks Debuts ‘Upstanders’ Docs

OK, we’ll admit it – Starbucks not only can brew up a kick-ass latte, but also some first-rate mini-documentaries. The brand’s first original web video series, Upstanders, tells 10 compelling stories of ordinary Americans making positive change in their communities – such as The Mosque Across the Street:

Each mini-doc comes with a written summary and a podcast. Breaking into a new career as Upstanders’ co-writer and producer is entrepreneur Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a former senior editor of The Washington Post, is the other co-writer and executive producer.

Here are short summaries of all 10 videos, which can be found at

The Mosque Across the Street – When an Islamic center purchases a plot of land opposite a church in Memphis, the local Muslim community expects hostility. Pastor Steve Stone has something else in mind.

Breaking the Prison Pipeline — Susan Burton keeps other female ex-convicts from returning to prison by giving them a place to live that’s free of drugs, alcohol and abusive relationships.

Homes for Everyone — Faced with a growing homeless situation, Utah changes the way it provides shelter, reducing its chronic homeless population by 91%.

Scholarships for Every Student — Residents of Baldwin, MI, band together to provide every high school student with a college scholarship.

The Kids Who Killed an Incinerator — 17-year-old Destiny Watford’s decision to oppose the construction of an incinerator leads to a series of events that stuns her neighbors and everyone connected with the project.

The Hunger Hack — Collegian Maria Rose Belding creates a web-based solution that saves tens of thousands of pounds of wasted food each year.

The Empathetic Police Academy — Susan Rahr is transforming the way police officers are trained in the state of Washington.

Employing the Full Spectrum — John D’Eri’s journey to find a job for his autistic son leads him to open a successful car wash where 85% of the employees are autistic.

A Warrior’s Workout — Former pro football player David Vobora gives up a lucrative career in private training to work with wounded veterans.

Building Homes. Building Lives — Former teenage convict Robert Clark helps at-risk youth of Newark, NJ, avoid a life of crime by leading them in building homes for poor families.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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