Starbucks joins Doug Baldwin and city of Renton to support Cascade/Benson area community center

The Starbucks Foundation donated $150,000 towards the upcoming Family First Community Center.

Starbucks is joining forces with Seahawks player Doug Baldwin and the city of Renton to make the proposed community center in the Cascade/Benson a reality.

The Family First Community Center received a $150,000 grant from The Starbucks Foundation this week, according to a press release.

“I am incredibly excited about the progress of the Family First Community Center and all of the support we have received up to this point,” said Baldwin in the release. “We are grateful to Starbucks for their support in bringing this project to life.”

The partnership is a part of Starbuck’s commitment to engage Opportunity Youth, the projected 4.9 million 16 to 24 year olds who are not working or in school in this country, according to the release. The initiative focuses on serving young Americans “who want to work or go to school, but continue to face systemic barriers to meaningful education and employment.”

As part of the initiative, the company aims to hire 100,000 opportunity youth by 2020.

“Starbucks has a long-standing commitment to connecting youth to the opportunities they need to succeed, an effort that began many years ago through early investments from The Starbucks Foundation right here in our hometown,” said John Kelly, senior vice president for Starbucks Global Public Affairs and Social Impact, in the release. “As we continue to build on this work, we are thrilled to support Doug and Mayor Law’s vision for Renton, and encourage others in the community to join us. This is an opportunity to show that every child in our community, regardless of their zip code, should have access to the kinds of opportunities that will help set them up for lifelong success.”

“Starbucks is an exemplary partner in our mission to ensure that young people in our community have the opportunity to realize their dreams and succeed,” said Mayor Denis Law. “I want to express my gratitude for their generous donation. Their contribution helps us get closer to making the Family First Community Center in the Cascade/Benson Hill area a reality and providing our youth with a safe place to learn and where they can reach their full potential.”

Family First Community Center is projected to be an approximate 25,000-square-foot facility that’s located right next to Cascade Elementary School, in the heart of the Benson community. It aims to provide free educational and recreational opportunities, offer health and fitness programs, as well as have on-site health and wellness programs. It will also aim to have after-school classes and programs, including youth sports, art classes, music classes and technology classes.

The Benson area was chosen for this project largely due to the lack of investment in the area since the annexation of Benson Hill in 2008.

In 2016, the population in the area was 23,769, which is about quarter of the city. According to the 2015 demographics, 12.8 percent of the population within the half mile radius of Cascade Elementary School was below the poverty line and earned less than $24,000 per household. Nearly 19 percent of the population is 14 years or younger and 65.5 percent of students from that area are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches.

Renton City Council authorized $4 million for a capital campaign in April 2017. Other entities that have supported the project include First Financial Northwest Foundation and King County.

The city is also partnering with HealthPoint, a non-profit health center that will help provide health programs and services. Some of the health and wellness programs will include group exercise, cooking classes, personal training, health education, life management and personal training.