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How coffee, crowd-funding, community radio and a cool arts presenter connect to make a difference for Seattle youth

You probably already know that Starbucks sells coffee*.

And even if you don’t know us, you can probably guess that ArtsFund has something to do with funding the arts.

But what you might not know is how coffee, crowd-funding, community radio and a cool arts presenter are connecting to empower music lovers and make a difference for Seattle youth.

It’s a pretty good story, and it’s not over yet!

Both ArtsFund and Starbucks started in Seattle about 45 years ago.  Since then, ArtsFund has been strengthening the community through supporting the arts, and Starbucks has been granting support to local initiatives, investing in skills training for our youth, and encouraging community service by Starbucks partners (employees). 

In 2013, ArtsFund launched**, an arts crowd-funding platform fueling regional arts projects.  Since launch, over 1900 people have made contributions to 108 projects on the site, with all donations incentivized by a 1:1 match.   This fall, Starbucks approached us with interest in supporting local arts education programs through power2give, and they had a really cool suggestion of how to get the rest of the community involved.

Back in 2012, Starbucks teamed up with KEXP (a Seattle-based community public radio station) and Seattle Theatre Group (multi-disciplinary arts presenters operating three landmark Seattle venues) to produce a concert series called “Little Big Show”. These concerts raise money and awareness for local arts nonprofits while featuring up-and-coming artists as well as established talent from the Seattle area and beyond.  Since the inaugural show, Little Big Show concerts have collectively raised more than $100,000 for local arts nonprofits.  It’s most definitely the “little show with big effect”.

So when Starbucks invited ArtsFund to be the beneficiary of the 10th Little Big Show, we were thrilled at the opportunity to empower new audiences.

“We look forward to bringing the community together in support of local arts education programs, while celebrating Seattle’s musical heritage,” said Rodney Hines, director of Community Investments for Starbucks. “And I can not think of a better way to commemorate our 10th Little Big Show than with ArtsFund whose work truly is to make arts accessible to all and valued as central and critical to the health of our community.”

The final part of the story is yet to come.

Little Big Show #10 is scheduled for Saturday, November 15th at STG’s Neptune Theatre.   Each ticket purchased will go directly toward matching funds for projects focused on youth programs such as artist classroom visits and residencies, scholarships for low-income youth to professional arts training, and free tickets to a variety of local music, theater and arts events.

So every single music loving concert goer is directly supporting arts access for our young people.  And since every dollar raised through Little Big Show will match a dollar raised through power2give/PugetSound, this one great night will generate more than $50,000 for regional arts projects.

That’s not just big effect, that’s huge impact!

*If somehow you don’t know Starbucks, I’ll vouch for the coffee!

** was created by the Arts & Science Council (ASC) of Charlotte, North Carolina in 2011.  There are currently 25 hosting communities nationwide.