Chandrasekaran said he and Schultz reject the notion that the U.S. is “fundamentally broken.” He noted stories of goodness in towns and cities across America, and said the solution to many of the country’s challenges can be found in change-makers, idea-generators, and community leaders.
“A lot of these [positive] stories never get the time of day in the mainstream press, but I am not here to bash the media – far from it,” said Chandrasekaran. “I think news organizations play a vital role in focusing on the squeaky wheels and addressing the challenges that we as a country need to fix. But we believe millions of Americans actually want to see stories of positive change.”
Chandrasekaran said he and Schultz selected each “upstander” using a “journalistic” process.
“I put on my old Washington Post hat and went about scouring the country for interesting and compelling stories,” he said. “[Schultz] did the same in a different way. He is one of the best connected people in America and a voracious reader.”
The series lives at Starbucks.com/Upstanders, which is powered by newly launched social change platform Fotition.
“Our goal here is not to sell more coffee; it is to inspire and engage millions of Americans to be better citizens,” noted Chandrasekaran. “More Americans need to be standing up, rather than standing by.” The chain also wants customers to encourage people to vote, find the “upstanders” in their communities, and share their stories with Starbucks, he added.